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.

8 Responses to “Was the Idealization Real?”

  1. jimsc said

    I. Am. Glad. You. Started. This. Site. Back. Up. I. Still. Have issues. From. My. Exposure to a bod. Woman

  2. m said

    I dont agree… the idealization phase isnt real.
    is another phase of the illness.
    u can easily see it, because in the first phase there are already strange signals.
    the borderline is trying to live his dream…
    during his life, he wears his beautiful mask of good appearence for other people, well knowing it s a fake. in the idealization phase, he tries to convince himself that mask is real.
    but it isnt… it s very hard for him keeping long this mask.. and u can see how very often there is hatred in him, or unstable behaviors. very little signals… at the moment u arent able to notice them, u can recognize them after.

    be careful, because ur thought is very dangerous.
    thinking the person in the idealization phase is real, means doing the possibile to save that person, or trying to get back him.
    it s not so… THAT person DOESNT exist!

    the REAL person is which u meet AFTER the idealization phase.

    • savorydish said

      I think it’s possible for people to have multiple personalities. A person who suffers from arrested development is essentially a child. A child can be happy as a clam one second. And then suddenly start crying for no reason. It is all about emotional instability. You would never point at a baby having a temper tantrum and say that is who that child is. The same understanding should be applied to those who are emotionally unstable.

  3. mau said

    yes, of course… but a borderline isnt a child.
    what i find dangerous, in her story, is thinking the real person is the one during the idealization phase… i think is the exact opposite.
    after the idealization phase, u ll never meet again ur love borderline… u ll see only a cold, distant and sadic person without empathy. because is that the real person…
    a child doent change forever her humor after six months…

    it s really hard expalining this, u can only understand after living a story with a bdp.
    think about ur ex… didnt u see during the idealization phase she was trying to dress that fucking perfect mask, that she was trying to be what she wanted to be? u werent anything in all that story.. dosnt matter who u were. u were only a tool for her…
    in the same time, wasnt easy for her keeping this mask.. because is hard reciting a part every 24 hours….

    • savorydish said

      I totally know what you’re talking about and I’m not trying to diminish the horrible things they do. While there were times when my BP ex wore a mask, I knew it was fake. At the same time, I knew when she was being real. Believe me, I wish I could write her off by saying she is pure evil. But it’s never that easy. Which is why it is so hard for us to let them go. Because we see the hurt child and as good people of course we want to fix the hurt child. But we can not and that is ultimately why we must let go. If we demonize them like they did to us, then we are no better. We must be able to detach without devaluating them to the point that they are no longer human. We can recognize how damaged they are without dehumanizing them.

      • OC said

        I tend to agree with Susan here. In order for the terror to set in, the crushing, devastating fear of loss that sets off that devaluation phase, the idealization has to be real – they have to genuinely feel something towards you, be it love, trust, or whatever other sort of regard they have for you.
        If they keep a person at arm’s length, there is no fear, there’s no investment, there’s no way someone you aren’t close to could possibly abandon you.
        If you know the signs, it can be very easy to tell when someone genuinely loves you and when someone is wearing a mask to achieve their own ends. And no matter how viciously cruel she became because of her fear, I know that my last partner truly did love me with all of her heart, no matter how profoundly sick and disturbed she may have been. Just as I loved her before she split me.
        This is what makes BPD so terrifying, to me at least – the emotions are entirely contradictory but they are all genuine. As Susan said, there are extremes in all of us, but most of us reside somewhere in the middle most of the time. The Borderline Personality exists only on the extreme ends of this spectrum and there is a black hole in the middle that consumes and crushes everything except for unrelenting terror.

      • m said

        loving someone means loving HIM… not the idea of urself in love. loving someone means understanding the partner, seeing him like a person… is a strong and deep emotion.
        they dont see u like a person, but like a tool that HAVE TO make them happy. they dont permit u to have ur own life. they dont understand ur needs. ur work is make them happy, always. this isnt love. this isnt real emotiion for someone. this isnt reality.
        they play the role of the girl in love. they love the figure of THEMSELVES IN LOVE. not u. u dont exists. nobody for them exists… the other are shadows, figures bad/good following their needs.
        this is only a their projection into u. nothing more.

  4. m said

    no… i m not saying they are pure evil…
    but if i should describe the “average” of their personality, i d use the words cold, without empathy, bored, empty.
    anger and happiness are frequent like answers to inner needs, that bring them to explode…
    this happens every 5 minuts, but in these moments they arent themselves. i think they are really in their shoes in empty moment… when they dont care of anybody and nothing…

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