A person with BPD might:
* Alternate between seeing others as completely for them or against them.
* Have a hard time recalling someone's love for them when they're not around.
* Change their opinions depending upon who they're with.
* Alternate between idealizing people and devaluing them.
* Remember situations very differently than other people, or find themselves unable to recall them at all.
* Believe that others are responsible for their actions-or take too much responsibility for the actions of others.
* Seem unwilling to admit to a mistake-or feel that everything that they do is a mistake.
* Base their beliefs on feelings rather than facts.
* Not realize the effects of their behavior on others.
A person with BPD might:
* Feel abandoned at the slightest provocation.
* Have extreme moodiness that cycles very quickly (in minutes or hours).
* Have difficulty managing their emotions.
* Feel emotions so intensely that it's difficult to put others' needs-even those of their own children-ahead of their own.
* Feel distrustful and suspicious a great deal of the time.
* Feel anxious or irritable a great deal of the time.
* Feel empty or like they have no self a great deal of the time.
* Feel ignored when they are not the focus of attention.
* Express anger inappropriately or have difficulty expressing anger at all.
* Feel that they never can get enough love, affection, or attention.
A person with BPD might:
* Have trouble observing their own and others' personal limits.
* Rush into relationships based on idealized fantasies of what they would like the other person or the relationship to be.
* Change their expectations in such a way that the other person feels they can never do anything right.
* Needlessly create crises or live a chaotic lifestyle.
* Act inconsistently or unpredictably.
* Alternately want to be close to others, then distance themselves.
* Cut people out of their life over issues that seem trivial or overblown.
* Act competent and controlled in some situations but extremely out of control in others.
* Verbally abuse others, criticizing and blaming them to a point where it undermines the other person's confidence in themselves.
* Act in what seems like extreme or controlling ways to get their own needs met.
* Accuse others of doing things they did not do, having feelings they do not feel, or believing things they do not believe.
Chronic feelings of emptiness also drive this negative cycle. Emptiness drive borderlines to seek emotionally intimate connections—even if it means negative emotions. When things are calm, even in a secure relationship, they may feel empty and insecure inside. So they create a conflict in order to feel more emotional intensity and connection even though this pushes people away (which is the opposite of their intent).
• “Emotional Reactivity.” A person with BPD not only reacts with extreme emotion (“what would be sadness in most becomes overwhelming despair. What would be anger becomes rage”), but their behavior also is intense and doesn’t fit the situation. They might sleep for days, scream in public or self-harm. Manning points out that emotional reactivity isn’t self-indulgent or manipulative, which is an unfortunate myth attached to BPD. Instead, research has suggested that people with BPD have a higher emotional baseline. If most people’s emotional baseline is 20 on a 0 to 100 scale, then people with BPD are continuously at 80. What can intensify their reactions are the secondary emotions of shame and guilt because they know “their emotions are out of control,” Manning writes. Let’s say your loved one is angry. “On top of the original anger, these secondary emotions feel intolerable, and their fear of all this emotion, ironically, tends to fire off another series of emotions—perhaps anger that is now shifted to you, for ‘not helping’ your loved one or for some unexpressed reason.”
If you're in a relationship with someone with borderline or narcissistic personality disorder, you may be surprised to learn that the relationship may be less intimate than you think it is. It may be intense, time-consuming, long-lasting, and take up most of your mental space.
Many partners of BPs can't distinguish between intimacy and intensity—Intensity has to do with secrecy, lack of trust, high drama, fear, lack of boundaries, and disrespect. Most of all, it serves to distract each person from working on their own issues because most of the time is spent in fantasy, the cycle of idealization and devaluation, bitter arguments followed up by apologies.
They desperately fear abandonment and want intimacy. But the minute they have it, they'll push you away because:
• You're engulfing them and they need distance because genuine intimacy makes them feel flooded or overwhelmed. So they push you away by becoming remote, critical, or argumentative. But the distance makes them uncomfortable, so they draw you in ... which engulfs them so they drive you away ... and the cycle goes on and on. Or....
• They fear abandonment so much they're afraid to get close and make themselves vulnerable. So just when things are going well, BOOM! They will unconsciously create a "fault" in you, something so bad they must be away from you–at least for a little while until they need you again ... at which point they will notice something so horrible about you they don't want to be near you anymore–until they need you again ... and the cycle goes on and on. Or...
• Since you're probably going to leave them anyway, they push you away before you get a chance to leave them. But you don't want to end the relationship and you come back, looking for the "old" BP and the loving times and you're a wonderful person, and you get back together and things are great–until they're convinced you're going to leave them again which is crazy because you've promised them over and over you would never leave, but still they push you away again and the cycle goes on and on ...
If you want answers, you can't use regular logic. You must use borderline logic, no matter how mind-bending the rules. Here is the way their thought process goes:
1. Intimacy = abandonment. This is why the closer you become, the more they act out around you. Other people can't tell–it's your little secret.
2. I don't want to belong to any club that would have me. So there is something wrong with you for wanting to be with me.
3. People you care about constantly send out invisible infra-ray signals they will reject you, and it's up to you reject them before they they can reject you.
4. If someone doesn't want to spend every minute with you, they don't want to spend any time with you at all. There is no past or future, only right now. Here comes another text, phone call, and demand.
5. Any distance between us (even a difference of opinion) is a sign the relationship is falling apart. Don't need your own space–even in your mind.
My IC "diagnosed" him as having attachment disorder, and I see a lot of overlap between that and this.
I was telling a counselor that I've spoken to about this how, for so long, I felt such huge compassion because it would be so horrible to live like these people do. But my compassion, which I still have, but differently, was getting me nowhere as far as getting MY needs met.
She wrote, in an email discussion about my struggle (I felt like it would be so awful for me to leave her), the following:
"remember that her being a sick person----does not mean that you were born to be her caretaker. Mercy and compassion for someone are wonderful attributes---at the same time, Mercy and Compassion without Truth, is dishonest----and Truth without Mercy and compassion is mean. Therefore, it is important that you realize that your relationship was unable to root itself this time around due to the fact that you added TRUTH to your mercy and compassion for her."
That made a HUGE impact on me.
I am still doubting myself. I keep thinking that many of the traits of NPD are similar to the "fog".
But I have to remember that this is not just the a I am dealing with it is the previous 10 years of verbal and emotional abuse.
Also the fact that I now know his previous relationship pattern has be to abuse the person until they left, every relationship ended by him being left because of his actions.
Either he is ill or just really really dumb.
I guess my question is, how can I be sure? I guess I don't trust my own perceptions, my own judgement of people right now.
Maybe just too much coming at me all at once. Too many years in denial.
I keep thinking that I should not have let him move back in. He left for ow, I should have kept him out, should not have given him a chance.
Now I have to figure out how to get out of this.
I think maybe I am afraid. I don't know who he is, this feels so very crazy.