Miscellany:Nicola

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16 Sep
Thank you for your very interesting and insightful answers regarding BPD.
Joanna Nicola
Joanna Nicola
16 Sep
I so appreciate your comments! I am new to Quora so it's really nice to get feedback.
Nathan Larson
Nathan Larson
20 Sep
Sabrina Geiger's I find helpful too, in understanding BPD from a non-clinical perspective. A friend of mine wrote regarding one of her answers, "I think this is too subjective and fuzzy to be of much use. It seems like someone just writing about what he (she?) wants in a relationship rather than any reasonable analysis." What triggers fear of abandonment in a person who has a borderline personality?

However, it seemed to match up to a lot of what my BPD ex expressed. E.g., the central importance of family.
Joanna Nicola
Joanna Nicola
21 Sep
I read that answer from Sabrina. Yeah, that is a very common viewpoint of a BPD and it may seem to your friend to be personal partly because not only are Sabrina's views common to those with BPD but they are also a very typical of female attitudes towards those who are less sensitive, usually men.
 
She is right, if we were less thick-skinned we would not trigger them. And if all of us had the characteristic of thin skin we would want to walk on eggshells because we would know about the pain caused by not doing that. And she may even be right in that if we were all highly sensitive, those with BPD wouldn't have to feel ashamed of their weakness which we know is what causes their negative behavior. So she does give us an interesting perspective.
Nathan Larson
Nathan Larson
21 Sep
Is there anything in this article that you would take issue with? Are You Dating Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?
Joanna Nicola
Joanna Nicola
22 Sep
I think most of what the doctor says seems accurate from the perspective of a relationship partner. Was this your experience?
Nathan Larson
Nathan Larson
22 Sep
Yeah, most of what was written in the article matched up to my experience. Actually, the borderline part of the puzzle I didn't pay much attention to until recently; I underestimated its role in all that happened. But now I find stories on the Internet that are like something I could have written about what happened with my ex and I, they describe it so much to a T.

My ex says that I haunt them because of the trauma I caused and the ways I betrayed their trust; they haunt me too, but in a different way, a mostly good way. It's like the opposite of trauma, to have good experiences that you will always remember fondly every day of your life, and that lift your mood and give you a sense of optimism and faith in the kind of beauty that is possible in this world.

I choose to focus on the good that happened, and to chalk much of the bad up to a tragic disorder. Without that disorder, though, I don't think my spouse and I would've gotten together, because they did something very unusual in going to such lengths to be with to begin with (driving 1,651 miles to come live with a guy met on the Internet), and then acquiescing to almost everything I asked, and marrying me, getting pregnant by me, etc. They broke some promises and told some lies, but I forgive those as having been motivated by a yearning to have a relationship with me, to please me, etc. and find happiness after so much misery. In light of the disorder, I can forgive a lot, actually, that I might otherwise hold against them as selfishness, weakness, etc.

It is a very bittersweet experience to look back on. Fortunately, the consequences don't seem to be following me any further in life, since I've been cut off. I have some heartache, but I was already depressed before I met my spouse, and now at least I'm not depressed any longer. I hope that despite what my ex says, they will eventually regard the relationship as having been beneficial, but there is no guarantee at all that will be the case.
Nathan Larson
Nathan Larson
23 Sep
I would be interested also in reading some stories from the perspective of the borderline's point of view. However, I think it's important to get the story both from during the period when they were still idealizing their partner, and from after the devaluation, because the two narratives will likely be very different.
Joanna Nicola
Joanna Nicola
23 Sep
Sounds you been through a lot, and that you had more strength than most. As far as seeing from their side, I think that's the part that is so hard for partners to understand. They don't have a side. They can't, or they will see what they have done to you. Once their emotions take over, they hurt you. But then they cannot live with the guilt, because they are hyper moral, back to the first Quora answer you showed me. So they have to believe you deserved their bad treatment in order to live in their own skin. They are too sensitive, they get hurt and then they hurt back and then they are too sensitive to accept that they hurt someone. So they have to stick to the story that you deserved it.
 
So they don't have a full perspective of the relationship that they could use to justify cutting off or hurting you. They use the justifications minute by minute to keep the guilt out. So they never develop a viewpoint about you. They use their ability to change perspective as a tool to manage their emotions. They are hiding from the memories of the relationship once it is over.
 
Also, there is real selfishness and weakness. But they usually know this about themselves and it is excruciating to them and then hate themselves and it just drives them further and further away from connection with themselves and with you.
Nathan Larson
Nathan Larson
23 Sep
Yeah, it seems like the stuff that pushed my partner away the most was when I blamed them for the relationship's problems, or even suggested they had played anything more than a minor role in its problems (aside from being an innocent victim who wasn't assertive enough). Not that it's good to blame any relationship partner (whether BPD or not); it tends to produce tension, resentment, and defensiveness. But I was unskilled in how to be a good partner, much less to a person who was that sensitive.

I hope they eventually find happiness, but last I heard, their research was focusing more on their victimhood and the societal problems that produced their victimization than on their personality disorder. The research doesn't seem to be for the purpose of understanding these malefactors and helping them change, though, as much as gathering ammunition with which to expose their evil and tear them down. All that resentment and hatred is a heavy load to carry.

I've been working on understanding the person who's hurt me, and it's been more healing and productive, I think. It's putting me in a better position to be able to deal sensitively and effectively with the next BPD person I encounter, I think. There's probably still some more introspection I need to do, though, into my own paranoid, antisocial, and narcissistic qualities (as identified by the MMPI), perhaps.
Joanna Nicola
Joanna Nicola
24 Sep
Are you certain you have paranoid, antisocial and narcissistic qualities? The reason I ask is because these are exactly the kinds of accusations that those with BPD make of their partners.
Nathan Larson
Nathan Larson
24 Sep
Well, I was diagnosed back in 2009 with depressive disorder NOS and personality disorder NOS with paranoid, antisocial, and narcissistic characteristics. Then in 2012, I got the same diagnosis, I think, except without the paranoid part. However, my psychologist told me that any intelligent, educated person will tend to register as antisocial. Both of these diagnoses resulted from two-day evaluations, rather than just a one-hour appointment. I took the MMPI each time. I have read, in a psychology text, that the MMPI sometimes over-diagnoses people with certain stuff, but I don't have the citation.

I also once saw a Wall Street Journal article about the DSM that said "Narcissistic Personality Disorder was voted out in 1968 and voted back in 1980; where did it go for 12 years? Doctors don't vote on whether pneumonia is a disease." I'm not sure what to think of it. I know that I do have a desire to be admired, accepted, etc. but I hear that's pretty common in men; it's a lot of what they look for in a relationship partner.

I tend to agree with what Gottman wrote here, in this excerpt from The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. I had a problem with self-criticism when I was with my spouse, and also I lacked the principles contained in the rest of his books (and its interesting follow-up, What Makes Love Last).

"Unlike complaints -- specific requests for change -- criticism doesn't make a marriage better. It inevitably makes it worse. What causes a spouse to be chronically critical? We have discovered that there are two sources. The first is an emotionally unresponsive partner. Simply put, if Natalie keeps complaining to Jonah about leaving his newspapers on the bathroom floor and he just ignores her, eventually she is likely to start criticizing him -- calling him a slob instead of politely reminding him about recycling. This change in Natalie's approach is understandable, but it is hardly helpful to her marriage since her criticism will make Jonah even less responsive. The only way out of this cycle is for both of them to change -- which won't be easy. It takes courage to be less critical of an unresponsive mate, and it takes courage to turn toward a partner who's always harping on your flaws. But both changes are necessary to end the cycle.

"The other source of criticism in marriage comes from within. It is connected to self-doubt that has developed over the course of one's life, particularly during childhood. In other words, it begins as criticism of oneself. Aaron cannot really appreciate or enjoy his own accomplishments. When he has a setback in his business, he feels deep down that he is worthless. When his business is successful, he doesn't allow himself to be proud. There's a voice inside him that says this is not good enough. He continually searches for approval but cannot enjoy it or even accept it when it is offered.

"What happens to Aaron when he marries Courtney? Since he has trained his mind to see what is wrong, what is missing, and not to appreciate what is there, it's difficult for him to rejoice in what's right with Courtney or their marriage. So instead of appreciating Courtney's wonderful qualities, including her sweetness, her devotion, and the deep emotional support she offers him when he is in danger of losing a major client, he focuses on what he considers her flaws -- that she is highly emotional, somewhat awkward socially, and not as meticulously clean around the house as he'd like.

"The story of Aaron and Courtney is what's wrong 85 percent of the time in most marriages. If you consider yourself inadequate, you are always on the lookout for what is not there in yourself and your partner. And, let's face it: Anyone you marry will be lacking in certain desirable qualities. The problem is that we tend to focus on what's missing in our mate and overlook the fine qualities that *are* there -- we take those for granted.

"If you recognize yourself in the description of the self-critic, the best thing you can do for yourself and your marriage is to work on accepting yourself with all of your flaws. As I look back on my own life so far, I realize the immense difference it has made in my role as a husband and a father for me to forgive myself for all of my imperfections." -- John Gottman
I actually think my narcissistic tendencies may have toned down a bit
the accusations my ex made against me were that I was obsessed with sex and a sex addict
Joanna Nicola
Joanna Nicola
24 Sep
The subject you ended with is out of my comfort zone, so I am going to end our conversations. However, I do want to say that any of the accusations that have been made against you can be sorted out fairly easily.
 
You would need to ask yourself would most people characterize your behavior in the way she did with those labels. Would most people consider your behavior in the relationship addictive or narcissist. That is what should define your judgment of yourself as opposed to her opinions. Thanks for the interesting thoughts. Take care.