Like a Child

December 30, 2014

My ACOA ex often told me about her little niece. A little girl who could be sweet and cuddly but also very temperamental. She said that her niece couldn’t stand criticism and took it very personally.

Her niece would lash out at you if you made her mad because she thought you were trying to hurt her. I laughed and said, “hmmm, sounds like someone I know.” My ACOA ex did not like that at all. But that only made me laugh harder. She knew I was right.

The mind of an emotionally unstable person is like the mind of a child. If you leave that person for a week to go on a business trip, they flip out and assume you are abandoning them.

Then they find a way to punish you, usually in a passive-aggressive manner. Sometimes that means sleeping with a rando guy and “letting it slip out” that they’re sleeping with another guy. This is the mind of someone who has suffered arrested development- the mind of a child.

My ACOA ex could be adorable when she wanted to be. She looked at the world like a child seeing the world for the first time. Especially, trees. She loved trees. Whenever I hugged her, she would fold her arms up under mine and look up at me.

That child-like quality was her most endearing quality. There was an innocence to that. But she could also be a spoiled brat. She loved my attention and lashed out at me if I did not give all of it. She would block my number and tell me never to contact her, like a pouting child slamming the door of her bedroom.

This was normal to her. She expected me to be ok with this. I was not. So she found someone else, hoping he would be ok with it. This is the mind of a child.

Was the Idealization Real?

December 28, 2014

Susan seems to think so. I would agree. Here’s her story:

I had a similar story with a BPD man (undiagnosed, as far as I know.)

I believe my Mom has BPD (waif type, not raging) or if not diagnosable, is on that spectrum. A life time of dealing with her many quirks blinded me to some of the early signals of BPD in him. Stuff that was ‘normal’ to me in my childhood, but that should have alerted me. It also made me vulnerable to his idealization. Finally my “goodness” was recognized and lauded.

It’s like they have a script for you– no matter what you do, there is a script of failure and disaster. It’s all about being in control. If they don’t really love you they have ‘control,’ because you can’t hurt them, and if they do love you it is pure terror– because losing you could be so devastating. Hence devaluation. If you are a caring person who tries to help/understand, they will be triggered even worse, and will need to control everything right into the ground. There is so much self hate that they cannot imagine any scenario where they could actually receive loyalty and love. You HAVE to be a bad abandoner. No other sort of person exists.

I see the whole thing as acting out non-verbally what was done to them in babyhood. “Someone important was supposed to love me but I was betrayed and punished and could never figure out the rules to please them. This person made me feel foolish and humiliated for trusting them or ever believing they loved me. This person withdrew and hurt me to gain control. And there has never been a resolution or repair. And I deeply loved this person, which is why I got so hurt.”

My ex is a quiet borderline. He didn’t yell or berate me. But he could not tolerate being seen behind his facade. The minute I glimpsed the hidden stuff– no matter that I had love and empathy– he was gone in a puff of smoke. No validation. No kindness. All my fault– I was cut out, blamed, and hated. Very very painful.

The terror in the center of them takes over, and causes them to smash up anything that has the glimmer of being important, valuable, and real. What a hell to live in.

I feel like idealization phase is the BPD operating in a “fearless” mode of childlike hope– feeling like “Finally I will be happy.” When that magic state doesn’t/can’t last, the terror/devaluation kicks in because you have swindled them…you were supposed to save them, but the fears are back, telling them they are not safe.

I see idealization as somewhat less phony than some commenters do.

I believe the person I saw at the beginning WAS real, just that the fear and internal rage he mostly suffers from had been temporarily pushed out of his consciousness. I feel like that person I was first exposed to is fairly close to who he would become if he got help and could downsize his inordinate fears. I feel like I saw the two opposite ends of the ‘scale’ of him, which are both real, and that the middle of the scale is one big void.

I do reach out from time to time, and it doesn’t seem to help, but I’d rather err on the side of not participating in his self hate. I think it’s a tragedy what abuse does to children and the brokenness and lifetime of pain that results.

Never Quite Forever

December 28, 2014

It seems my borderline ex is no longer married to the man she once wrote she would love forever. Two years later, his last name has been dropped from her name. I assume he was unceremoniously dropped as well.

While I don’t know any of the dirty details, I can assume it was a familiar story of destruction. Most likely the fear of intimacy took over, compounded by the memory of past failures. Most likely she played the push and pull game.

Women like her follow a set schedule of self-destruction. Once you familiarize yourself with these patterns, you can be certain they will repeat these patterns again and again. Denial and a busy lifestyle keeps them from changing.

I don’t get any pleasure from this news, except some satisfaction that I was right about her. I don’t even remember why I loved her. I feel silly for making such a big deal about her. But it was never about her. It was about all of them.

With each woman who hits and runs, I find it easier to pick myself back up. It has become somewhat of a firedrill. I’m good at it and getting better. My survival skills have been honed to deal with such catastrophes with minimal effort. After all the drama, life goes on.