The Fear of Being Revealed

February 22, 2014

Readers frequently ask why borderlines inexplicably shut loved ones out of their life. They are particularly confused when they did nothing to cause such a fearful reaction. In fact, many of these kind souls tried to help and support the borderline despite the never-ending drama. But their kind nature is exactly why the borderline has shut them out and (in many cases) turned on them. It doesn’t make sense because that is the nature of PDs. They defy logic. If you were to ask borderlines, themselves, they might also wonder why they behave this way. The following was a confession by a borderline who was struck with the fear that she might be discovered:

Hi All,
I think I am selfish. My BPD is underlined by some selfishness. Do you have similar feelings?

For fear of my BF abandonning me once he sees me in the light, I left him before he left me. It was inconceivable for me to see that he might accept me after all. I started concealing myself, then lying frequently, then hiding my friends from whom he may learn things about me, then demanding things from him, finally leaving him. ALL THIS IS ABOUT ME ONLY, WHAT i WANT

Now that he left, I am suffering. Why? because again of how he could bring balance and happiness in my life: AGAIN ABOUT ME = MY SELFISHNESS.

I am not saying that BPD are selfish, but with me I see a deep underlying selfishness.


A frequent contributor named Zan found this article which further clears the fog:

But consider, for a moment, that you have been deceived and because you do not understand that the ambiguous behaviors so well hidden by a family system that enables Borderline behaviors to go on undetected and that you have become the unwitting accomplice of something that holds the potential to destroy the family system that protects it.

It is common for the borderline personality to be relatively unnoticed by most people in the family, friends, and acquaintances circle– while at the same time a inflicting personal damage to family members. A common trait of the borderline is to utilize  attention seekingbehaviors that are used to gather a supportive network of understanding, enablers to rescue the Borderline from her worst fear from every crisis.  Some would call her a “Drama Queen” who “acts out” to gain the sympathy and support and  to keep the worst fear from being realized.  As a result, she is constantly burdened with a lifestyle that demonstrates a constant sense of “faking it,” and with the continual threat that sooner or later she will be “found out.”  So, what you are seeing is the great effort going into continually managing people, information, and perception–  to hide who she really is from the public eye.

The danger in a family system is being found out and rejected or abandoned. The very idea of someone exposing the borderline behavior is the trigger that it evokes (for her) the fear  of being exposed. This stress triggers the core issue– fear of abandonment. What you will witness is her intense feeling of rejection, pain, and the anger that triggers defensive mechanisms bringing rage, acting out, and acting in behaviors. Unfortunately, if you are the person who identifies the deception of the borderline, you should be prepared to be subjected to becoming the object of  rage motivated by an irrational belief  of abandonment, social isolation, and rejection. For the borderline, the loss of control, coupled with the fear of abandonment triggers a heightened level of stress that is unmanageable for her resulting in dysregulated emotions .  Consequently,  splitting occurs in her mind and what or was one good has suddenly become all bad.

A pattern among Borderlines, threatened with a feeling of lack of control or being found out, is to turn their anger to the person who knows their secret and threatens the myth that they have created.  This person is endangering their ability to exert control which  triggers dysregulation, anger, rage focused on the internalized threat.  The pattern of the the borderline which demonstrates the intense fear of being found out is rooted in an irrational belief that she/he will be abandoned if found out.  Her behavior presents in striking– outbursts of anger– out using innuendo, accusation that vilifies the person who threatens her total control , while painting a picture of her own victimization. As the borderline expresses rage, they build a circle of supporters around them, who  feed the ego-need– people, who are largely undiscerning, unaware, co-dependent, and capable of being duped through the coercive manipulation and deception that she demonstrates.

If you are not willing to join the company of enablers and participate in their plan,  then expect your life to become very difficult.  Borderline behavior toward the person who recognizes the deception will be skewed by rage, distorted reason, and perception and fueled by the belief that her behavior is justified, correct, and characterized by intense and cruel actions hidden beneath the innocent image being projected- the victim, so innocent. For the borderline, her control takes on the form of isolating support mechanisms that she believe that you depend upon– family relationships, children, grandchildren,  friends, relationships, and financial resources.  It is common for Borderlines to destroy your personal property, assault your credibility privately,  passive-aggressive anger,  projecting behaviors that demonstrate the intense rage and fear felt, an internalized feeling of a  loss of control  The goal of theses behaviors is to deflect any belief that they are indeed suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder and to paint the picture that you are the crazy one with a problem.  Borderlines are constantly putting others in “no win” situations in order to reinforce the myth they have created.

Make no mistake – This is abusive behavior. The psychological scars inflicted by a person who pretends to be your soul mate one minute and then stabs you in the back the next will last for years, if not a lifetime. Consider treatment for yourself and stay away from these people like the plague.

Fair Weather Friends

February 21, 2014

It seems like blocking phone numbers and de-friending people on Facebook is all the rage. It was probably just a coincidence that I was going through the same situation as Mitch at the same moment. But this was not my first experience of being shut out.

Last year, I had to say good-bye to a friend who had a drinking problem (and probably a mood problem). And sure enough, when I confronted him with his problems, he unfolded a story of childhood abuse- an alcoholic father who tormented his family. Sound familiar?

I was the only one in his life empathic enough to signal the alarm. He was shocked but also seemed relieved that I had picked up on it. He even thanked me for my “intervention”. That is, until I suggested that he quit drinking and get help. That’s when the shit hit the fan.

I told him I would support him if he sought help, but I would not watch him self-destruct. This is what it means to be a good friend. He disagreed and was insulted that I would no longer be his drinking buddy. That day, he de-friended me on Facebook. I guess I saw it coming. In the back of my head, I knew what his response would be.

Damaged people who are in a state of denial are fair weather friends. They only want you around if you enable their dysfunctional behavior… if you accept their abusive tendencies. Unfortunately, I have a strict No Asshole policy.

Damaged people can be your best friend and your most loving lovers. But that is only when you play along with their illusions. If you point out that the Emperor is naked, you will see the other side, the darker side.

And almost immediately, they will show you out the door. And slam it for dramatic effect. It is easier for them to stay in denial. It is also less painful. Self-awareness brings back memories of the past. A past they would prefer to keep well-hidden.

The day you force them to acknowledge their past and snap out of denial (or god forbid, seek treatment), is the day they will stop being your friend.

Empathic People

February 21, 2014

Here’s an article that might interest some of my readers:

Let me be clear- I am not saying borderlines are sociopaths. One is guilty of being too sensitive and the other one is insensitive. One is Machiavellian and the other is merely over-reacting to the world.

That being said, I think they both gravitate towards empathic people. While we are the person most likely to sense something is terribly wrong, we are also the most susceptible to their charms.

The author speaks at length about being gaslighted- the process by which the abuser gets you to doubt your own instincts (aka “You’re crazy. Not me”):

Psychotherapist Christine Louise de Canonville describes different phases that the abuser leads the relationship through:

– the idealisation stage, where the sociopath shows herself in the best possible light – but this phase is an illusion, to draw her target in

– the devaluation stage begins gradually so the target is not alert to the sociopath’s transformation to being cold and unfeeling, but will begin to feel devalued at every turn; the more distressed the target becomes, the more the sociopath enjoys her power, and her abuse can become more extreme

– the discarding stage – the target is reduced to an object to which the sociopath is indifferent, seeing the game as won; the sociopath rejects any connection, moving on to the next target.

Gaslighting does not happen all at once so, if you suspect in the early stages of a relationship that you are being gaslighted, you can protect yourself by walking away.

And while I don’t believe a borderline should be confused with a sociopath, I do think they can be “cold and unfeeling” in the devaluation and discarding stage. The difference lies in the motivation.

That is, why do they run and block your phone number? A sociopath gets sick pleasure in manipulating someone. But a borderline most likely does it because she can not handle the intense feelings that come with intimacy. The fear of losing that which they so desperately want is too much.

They draw you in only to kick you out. And then they cry endlessly about it because they don’t understand why they would do such a thing. She cries because deep down she knows she is her worst enemy.

Stronger Sense of Self

February 19, 2014

Even though I find myself in the familiar place of being shut out by someone I used to love, I am better prepared this time around. Last time, I knew nothing about BPD or ACOA. But I am a quick study.

This time, I was emotionally prepared for the fall out. I knew if I broke up with her, she would want nothing to do with me. When you reject someone like this, they will try to convince you that they rejected you.

All those wonderful things she said about me would vaporize into thin air, and then be replaced by devaluation. All the good will you continue to give them, will be met with hostility. I knew it would come down to this.

I knew if I told her she was emotionally unstable, she would say I’m crazy. If I suggested she needed help, she would come back and say I need help. I knew if I got her to go see a therapist, she would spend the whole time telling her therapist what an awful person I was.

It seems I was so awful she spent a whole year with me. I was so awful, all her friends told her that they have never seen her happier. But yet, she insists I made her life hell which doesn’t really explain why she kept coming back to me.

A few years ago, I would have been devastated and dumbfounded. I would be lost and confused like Mitch. But lessons have been learned, experiences have forced me to come back stronger and wiser.

I gave her the benefit of the doubt, because there is always the danger of being trigger happy when looking for BPD-types. When you spend a good part of 2 years studying BPD, you are in danger of seeing BPD everywhere.
If you obsess about something too much you are more likely to attract it then repel it.

All we have is our sense of self. If you have a strong sense of self, they can not take it away. Even after a year of involvement.

I knew she was a runner from the very beginning so I just waited and watched. Without jumping to conclusions. I had nothing to lose.

The truth is that I enjoyed her company… when she wasn’t acting out. And when she did act out I just went back to life as usual. I gave her ample time to prove me wrong. I was waiting for enough evidence to pull the plug.

And when I finally did. She flipped 180 on me. But this time I knew it was coming. I was prepared.

The devaluation is still hard to take. Because it always comes after the period of idealization. It leaves you wondering if she meant any of it… if she really loved you. But if you have a strong sense of self, no one can take that away.

When you love yourself, that’s all that matters. And so you brush yourself off, and keep on looking.

Being Shut Out

February 19, 2014

Like Mitch, I was recently shut out. She too blocked my number and blocked me on Facebook. This after she found out I was writing about her in my blog. Never mind that they were truthful accounts or that I had been pleasant to her even after I broke up with her.

This was not the first time she had shut me out. This was a repeated pattern in our relationship. We had many fights. She would lash out at me irrationally. And when I fought back, she would accuse me of being abusive and block me.

And after a few days passed by, she would start to miss me and would act like nothing happened. She would unblock me only to block me again and again. And then she wondered why I didn’t take the relationship seriously.

According to her, suggesting that she was emotionally unstable and needed help was abusive. Suggesting that her father had traumatized her was abusive. It was ok for her to complain about him. But if I suggested that was an explanation for her hyper-sensitivity and irrational behavior, then I was being abusive.

She accused me of using personal info against her. Maybe I was. Or maybe I was just trying to explain her fight/flight responses and her constant over-reactions.

Every time she would cool down and unblock me, I would foolishly take her back. I even took her out for her birthday (this was after I broke up with her) as an act of good will. No such good will from her. She didn’t bother to remember my birthday.

It is interesting to note that she has never blocked out her father. Despite being a mean drunk and kicking her out of the house for dating a man he did not approve of.

She also did not block out her last ex. Even though he was a raging alcoholic and cheated on her twice (with his ex-wife).

She only blocked me out, because I would not play along with her denial. Had I been as abusive as her last ex and her father, we might still be good friends. But apparently, speaking honestly makes me an asshole. And she prefers the company of enablers.

Shutting Down This Blog

February 18, 2014

Recently, I broke up with someone who was showing signs of BPD. More specifically, she is someone who was traumatized by an alcoholic parent. Severely so. Some of you may know this condition as ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics).

And while she remains unaware of her own condition, she is very aware of this blog and has made many attempts to shut it down. She doesn’t like what she reads, which is common for people who are in denial. That is a huge reason why I broke up with her. This blog serves as a litmus test.

She claims I am using the blog to talk trash about all my exes. But there would be no trash to talk about had I not had to endure the roller coaster ride she and many others have put me through. She refuses to see the common link between her and so many others I have had to say good-bye to. She was not my first ACOA. I fear she will not be my last.

She fails to accept responsibility for her uncontrolled rage and her abusive shut outs. She alternates between fight and flight. This is her idea of conflict resolution.

I was dealing with an angry child. Drama and chaos were at every corner. Always when things were going too well. I bent over backwards to play nice and mend broken bridges. But she was always looking to smash everything to bits and pieces.

So desperate was she to shut down this blog, she contacted my father and begged for his intervention. I regret having introduced her to my family. I am saddened by her desperate attempts.

But you will be happy to know that this blog will continue. I was playing around with the idea of shutting it down, but then a person like this comes around and reminds me why it needs to stay up. If not to warn others, to remind myself.

Her attempts at shutting the blog down remind me how desperate they are to stay in denial and to cover up their tracks. How desperate they are to pin the blame on other people. It reminds me of how little they care about us.

A father who suffers from alcoholism does terrible things to his children. But these children go on to do terrible things to people who make the mistake of loving them. And so the cycle of abuse continues. And so my blog continues.

Mitch’s Agony

February 18, 2014

Mitch came to us recently. He is lost and confused. We can all relate to his story, so I share it with you:

My ex girlfriend of 2 years has borderline personality disorder and bipolar. We broke up so she can go to therapy for sexual abuse. The therapist told me to take care of myself and said we can’t be together while she’s in therapy.

Well, as of now, she has told me she never loved me. She hates me. She found a new guy who is the world to her. She says she never wants to see me again. Told me that she has no feelings for me and never loved me like I loved her.

She blocked my number. She blocked my facebook and my Hotmail account. Right now, I feel messed up and I don’t know what to do about it all, because I still love her. I don’t think there is another guy. I think she just said that so I stop pursuing her and give up on her.

There can be no greater agony than loving someone with all your might (despite all the reasons not to) only to have that person suddenly and mercilessly shut you out. It is an act of abuse and abandonment that sends loved ones into a bottomless pit of depression.

So why the 180? First you must understand how disturbed this person is. BPD+BiPolar+Sexual Abuse. That is one hell of a trifecta. That is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. This person is a complete mess. And only the most dedicated specialist can help her regain some grip on reality.

Mitch doesn’t understand why she suddenly hates him or why she hurts him with suggestions of another man. But first he must understand the nature of someone who has been traumatized since early childhood. She will react to intimacy like a cat who is cornered. She will claw her way out with little regard for the person she is clawing, regardless of how much you love her.

Shutting you out and devaluating you is the only weapon she has against intimacy. She has learned the art of abandonment from her parents. She learned from the best. She carries with her generations of shame and blame.

It is a cruel act to shut someone out. But in her warped mind, she is justified in doing so. She will always find justification. Otherwise, she would not be able to sleep at night.

Her therapist is trying to protect her and Mitch. But Mitch is still in her grips and struggling to get out. I know exactly how he feels. My best wishes are with him.