Getting Older

February 16, 2015

As I get older today, I reflect upon what I’ve learned and what I still need to learn. I’ve said good-bye to a lot of friends in the last few years, which is always a painful process. But it’s gotta be done.

I have fewer friends. But the ones I have are keepers. No more fair-weather friends or self-centered narcissists. No more unnecessary drama. No more dysfunction or passive-aggressive toxicity left over from childhood.

Truth be told, we all had less than perfect childhoods. But I’ve learned that not everyone uses that as an excuse to be a horrible human being. I’ve met some people on this blog whose existence proves that a damaged child can be a decent adult.

It is always sad when you love someone and continue to love someone after the relationship goes to shit. In that instant, their “love” magically evaporates into thin air. You wonder if it was ever genuine. Maybe my standard for love is higher. I require and deserve permanence and consistency. That is how I know my love is real and I expect no less for myself.

I can not trust someone who snaps and pulls a 180 on me every time they feel like its justified. I can not continue to love someone who punishes people because they are feeling insecure and vulnerable. Or punishes me because something dear old dad did to them.

But still there will always be a part of me that loves those women who took their love back so easily. That is why betrayal is so painful to me. Because when their love has already and completely dried up, my love still remains.

25 Responses to “Getting Older”

  1. jhan1969 said

    “But still there will always be a part of me that loves those women who took their love back so easily.”

    Don’t worry, the penchant for continuing to love douchebags goes away with age. Sooner or later, you’ll realize you only have so much time on this planet, so why waste it?

    πŸ˜‰

    • savorydish said

      I agree that time is short. But it’s never that cut and dry. Not with the women I love. Because they are not entirely douchey. I don’t know what your experience was, but there was a time they loved me as much as I loved them. There was a time that love actually did bring out the best in them. The problem is it never lasts.

      • jhan1969 said

        “But it’s never that cut and dry.”

        Nothing is ever cut and dry.

        Personally, I don’t believe the Borderline I was with loved me. I believe she was too emotionally ill to love anyone. MY definition of love includes character, integrity, consistency, honesty, and SHOWING UP. My borderline failed on all counts; therefore, she didn’t love me.

        What is important here is not whether or not she loved me; what’s important is WHAT I BELIEVE. I have a bare minimum standard now by which I require to be treated; if a woman cannot meet those bare minimum standards, she is incapable of love in my world. That is my belief system.

        And I do not care how anyone feels about this. I only care how I feel about it. I worked too hard to overcome co-dependency to worry about approval from others. The ONLY people I work to get approval from are my mother and whoever is signing my paychecks. Everyone else can go blow.

        I came to a point in my life where I had to start developing OBJECTIVE CRITERIA about things. What IS love to me? What IS character to me? What IS integrity to me? As far as I can develop objective criteria about these things, I can learn how to live life fully without opening myself up to character-deformed people. I really had to think about things. This is MUCH HARDER WORK than the typical, ‘Oh, well, you know everyone has there own way of blah blah blah and everyone is different blah blah blah.’ Thinking about this stuff in an OBJECTIVE WAY – after I had time and distance from my borderline – actually HELPED me see the nuances of life.

        Here’s one of my objective criteria:

        – If a woman tries to drive a wedge between me and my family members or friends, SHE’S OUT. That very day. No matter what the situation is. Even if she has cancer . . . she’s out. All I have to have is a GUT FEELING about it. I do not need proof. My instincts are enough.

        Doesn’t matter what she looks like, how she cries, what her story is. She’s out.

        The reason why my instincts or ‘gut feelings’ are enough:

        1st off, this isn’t a cop show, this is my LIFE. I don’t need proof because I’m not in court.

        2nd: Borderlines are EXPERT at swaying us from our accurate gut-feelings. If I try to ‘discuss’ or negotiate my negative gut feelings with a borderline, she’ll twist it around and make ME look like the bad guy. I WILL NOT fight that fight with a borderline or ANY personality disordered individual, because they are EXPERTS at manipulation.

        Therefore . . . when my gut speaks, I act IMMEDIATELY.

        And therefore, I run way less of a risk of repeating past mistakes.

        I’m sorry to go on and on. It’s just that this stuff is life and death to me. Being with a borderline almost sent me to the loony bin. I don’t want to happen to some other guy out there.

      • savorydish said

        I totally respect that because I know that feeling of being driven to madness. I think we’re both being more cautious these days. Sometimes women accuse me of being too cautious, but that is the way it’s gotta be.

        Until the day I find myself with an emotionally healthy woman, I gotta stay a safe distance away. The women I loved were too emo to love.

        Their love may have been real, maybe too real. They just couldn’t handle it. It triggers the flight and fight response. Which makes no sense to me, so it has taken some time to truly understand what makes someone react so primitively to love.

        It’s easy to hate someone who reacts with such viciousness. But when you understand what sad creatures they are, you realize how sad their life must be. And that has helped me maintain my humanity while easing the pain of the past.

        I think people think compassion for these tortured souls allows these people into your life. But I think it is the opposite- it drives them away. That is my experience at least.

        The more kindness you show them, the more likely they are to run away. I hated that. But now I am coming to terms with that and realizing that was a blessing in disguise. It allows me to stay grateful and compassionate. They can not take that away from me.

      • jhan1969 said

        “too emo to love”

        Ohh, I am stealing that . . .

      • savorydish said

        That’s cool. It will probably be the title of my next post.

    • jimsc said

      Very. Well. Worded. Even. If. You. Ever. Reconnect. It. Will be. Shortlived. BTW. Bad. Sucks

  2. JD said

    Agree completely

  3. i too feel ypur pain deely, as she was the first after my wofe passed away I gave her all the love i coud and it was just thrown away like it did matter

  4. Marie said

    SD, Happy Birthday (in response to “As I get older today..”)! I don’t think Borderlines are capable of loving others since they are unable to even love themselves. They are excellent actors/actresses and know how to simulate all the nice qualities that love is supposed to entail. Also, they are obsessed with winning people over in the beginning so they pull out all the stops. Once the initial excitement of being with someone new wears off and also they know you are in love with them that’s when their true nature appears. They are victims of everyone including themselves. I think they can care for others but not love anyone even their own kids.
    Yes, there are good memories of the very beginning and moments here and there later on but most of it was like being in hell. I don’t care if they (my parents, my ex boyfriend all had/have BPD) loved me at all or not. I’m keeping my standards high both for my husband and my close friends. If any of them can’t be nice like I am, love me back and treat me the way I deserve then I will show them the door. I can forgive but I will not hold a grudge because they are sick, emotionally stunted but I also can’t forget because then the abuse gets worse.
    You are doing a great job eliminating emotional black holes from your life. Keep up the good work!
    Hugs,
    Marie

  5. Mary Catherine Garcia said

    I’m so glad that I found this forum, it is intelligent, insightful and helps me better understand what I have been going through. The BP man that I have been seeing for the last 17 months just broke up with me again, after going back-and-forth several times. I think this is the last time, because of the manner in which he chose to end it, and because I understand that I need to stop this relationship and heal.

    My friends and family all told me that they felt he was “off” somehow and they didn’t like the way he treated me, or the way I seemed to change when he was around. My son said he was poison and begged me not to get back together with him. I made excuse after excuse for my BP ex and told them I felt sorry for him, (father committed suicide, wife died from cancer three years earlier, etc., etc.) and that they didn’t know and understand him the way that I did. Everyone began to doubt my judgment, despite the fact that I am an educated, accomplished professional. They pointed out that my husband had passed away just one year earlier and that I needed to be careful of my feelings.

    In the meantime, I spent most of the time alone, because he valued his independence. He’d compliment me and then criticize me, told me that he adored me but didn’t love me and then, for seemingly no reason, would say it is over, block my calls and refuse to communicate for months on end. The problem is that I was very attracted to him and when he was good, he was very, very good.

    After some time, he’d text me as if nothing happened, we’d talk and the whole cycle began anew. The whole thing came crashing down about a month ago when I told him that I felt empty in this relationship and that I really needed to be with someone who reciprocated my love. He told me that he didn’t and that I should go find what I needed, and then blocked my calls and all communication again. I decided to let it go and didn’t contact him.

    Less than a week later he showed up at my office, and took me to lunch and apologized, saying he was ill during the weekend and made a mistake and wanted to try to work on our relationship. He seemed sincere and asked me to come to his house that evening to talk further. I did, and we ended up having sex, and I thought he was happy that we were back together.

    Less than 48 hours later, I received a text from him saying he was sorry, but he made a mistake by coming to my office. He said that it was clear that the relationship had “flamed-out” and he didn’t want to see me anymore, not to come to his house, and not to communicate with him further. I asked what had happened, or what I had done to cause him to feel that way. He said that I had done nothing at all wrong, that I was sweet and wonderful, but it was just over, blocked my calls and texts and that was that.

    I found your site after all of this occurred and it has helped me to understand why my BP ex is unable to communicate, or end things in a civilized manner. The problem I have now is that I am very deeply hurt by the manner in which he broke up with me this time, because it seems so cold and calculated to truly hurt me. I feel like I have been emotionally raped and, to be honest, am having quite a hard time dealing with it and getting over it.

    Unfortunately, I have sent him several emails trying to explain how mean and hurtful his actions have been but, of course, he didn’t respond. I feel liker a complete fool, and now understand that I need to have no further contact, that he probably is incapable of being empathetic, and that this is not about me at all but about his ability to control things in his life. I’m trying to put this all in perspective and to be healthy, but it is very confusing and difficult.

    I apologize for this lengthy post. Thank you for being there. MG

    • Marie said

      Mary,
      I feel your pain. Know that there are nice men out there waiting to find a sweet woman like yourself. I’m sorry for the loss of your husband. I’m also sorry this emotional black hole of a person found you.
      I have been in your shoes and can sympathize as well as empathize. Your ex will most likely try to get you back again. Whenever they are feeling lonely they come back. You need to make sure to stay away from him. No calls, texts, visits and if he shows up at work again please show him the door. Don’t engage in conversations that will try to hoover you back into a relationship. You did nothing wrong it’s all him, however, you need to realize you will never get closure from him. Be strong for you and your son. Make sure to spend plenty of time with people who truly love you especially when you are feeling lonely.
      No contact is the only way to get this person out of your life for good. And when you start to think about how wonderful he can be, realize that is only an illusion. The real him is the one that hurts you and doesn’t think twice about it.
      Hugs,
      Marie

    • Leif said

      Mary,

      Don’t beat yourself up; there is nothing wrong with you having a hard time getting over this. The very same thing happened to me a little more than a month ago and I’m absolutely gutted over it. Read this blog and others, over and over again if you have to, that helps; one of the remarkable things you will find is how similar these stories are. You haven’t been hurt by a person, you’ve been hurt by a disorder. The person you saw was just a mask.

      To discard your partner in silence is one of the cruelest things you can do to someone. Remember that if he tries to contact you again. And remember too that the personality disordered seek out kindness and generosity and good qualities in other people, qualities they lack; in the absence of these they would never get away with their abuse. In the end, though, they come to resent you for it, and push you away. He knows, somewhere deep down, that you are too good for him.

      Take care of yourself,

      Leif

      • Mary Catherine Garcia said

        Leif, Marie, and SD,

        Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comments. They mean a lot. I am sorry to hear that you, and so many on this site, have gone through exactly the same confusion and anguish that I have recently experienced. I’ve been too upset and confused to communicate well lately, so I have avoided doing so. Leif’s comments are timely, because I slipped and sent my Ex a bottle of wine with a nice card for his birthday. He texted me and asked me to go on a day trip to talk about things. I was out of town for three days with no phone reception. When I finally had reception and responded, he did not pick up the phone, did not respond to my two voice mails, or one text. I guess my delayed response was taken as an affront and we are back to the previous cold war.

        Leif seems to be right that kindness is taken as weakness and scoffed upon. I understand that this is a disorder, but I also know that my Ex is an intelligent and calculating person with a successful catering business. He is well aware of his actions and how they affect people, so I believe he intentionally chooses to be cruel and uncaring about my feelings and happiness, which is part of his disorder. He obviously has no sense of loyalty of appreciation for those people in his life that care about him and try to understand his bizarre behaviors.

        I know that I should not have sent the gift, but I felt sentimental about his birthday last year, just wanted to be nice and hoped we could talk. I am trying to be stronger now and am not trying to understand these events on a logical basis. My bad habit is trying to apply logical principles to illogical behavior. Doing so is such a confusing waste of time.

        Leif, I am sorry that you also very recently experienced the silent treatment and being rejected by someone with this disorder. It is horrible and makes one feel completely dejected. When I analyze the events, I begin to question if there is really anything wrong with him, or is it my imagination and he is just a mean person? I honestly have no idea, I am certainly not a psychiatrist. However, as a layperson, I have done extensive reading on the subject of borderline personality disorder and he appears to exhibit all of the behaviors that are indicative of the disorder. Foolishly, I thought that, because I was armed with information, I understood this disorder and could be the person who could love and help my Ex. In hindsight, that was a ridiculous assumption because the very nature of the disorder causes the person who has it to leave those who get too close and to shut them out completely with the silent treatment, blocked calls and emails, etc. Trying to love and help someone with this disorder is similar to embarking on a kamikaze mission with one’s heart, soul and psyche.

        With the help of the comments of many others on this site who have also tried to love someone with BPD and lost, I have resolved to be stronger and to take better care of myself. Last weekend, I went to Yosemite National Park and rode my bike and took photos for three days. It was a wonderful, healthy and awe- inspiring trip. There are so many beautiful things to experience in the world when we step away from these dark experiences. I highly recommend getting exercise and being in nature to restore one’s sense of hope and happiness.

        Mary Catherine

      • jimsc said

        Very. Well. Worded. Even. If. You. Ever. Reconnect. It. Will be. Shortlived

      • jimsc said

        I. Wish. I. Had. Never. Heard of. Bpd

    • Leif said

      Mary,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      You’re lucky to be able to spend time in Yosemite, I’m sure it helps a great deal to be outside in such a glorious place. I tend to walk long distances in the sun these days. Putting one foot in front of the other is better than sitting at home surrounded by memories both good and bad. So it is with the rest of life too.

      One of the observations often made on this and other “non”-oriented survivor blogs is that the personality-disordered do seem to be aware of their actions and to understand that others might have a problem with them. My ex is very able to present a nice and even meek image to the rest of the world, to my friend and family, etc. She described this as “showing respect” in our last fight when I confronted her about the discrepancy between her public behavior and her behavior towards me. I suppose that means that “respect” is something she didn’t want to show me?

      But then, it is intimacy that triggers these disorders; it is a sad irony that they reserve their abuse for those that try to love and care for them the most. In my case that meant her mother and myself, for all others she was able to keep the mask on. Her mother even said things to me, the reddest of red flags in hindsight and disturbing even then, that revealed she knew her daughter is not well. I occasionally feel small flashes of anger towards her for letting me walk towards the danger all the same, but I know that’s not fair: she loves her daughter and, I have no doubt, wanted intensely that things would work out for her this time, with someone that seemed to be helping her.

      I know very well the confusion you mention; it tortures me every day. I have been under the care of a psychologist since long before I ever met her and I still have trouble understanding the truth and accepting that I’m NOT the unhealthy one, despite frequent and strenuous validation on that point from my doctor. Her constant projections and accusations and cognitive distortions in the last half of our time together got to me, even though I maintained a lifeline to reality by sticking with my therapy (against her attempts to isolate me from this source of support). Even now I try to read multiple blog posts like this one every day to keep myself from sliding back into sympathy and depression.

      Someday I believe I will come to see myself as one of the lucky ones; nothing ties me to her at all, I was exposed to her abuse for only a short time, and when she split me black she did so with amazing speed and thoroughness. Two hours after our fight she glared at me with an icy hatred I’ve never seen from anybody and said not one word. I haven’t seen or heard from her since; she has refused to acknowledge my existence for over a month. She is a survivor of childhood emotional abuse from her father and is using the defenses she learned then; I gave up communicating with her relatively quickly when I realized that my messages, kind and understanding though they were, were doing nothing but driving her further away. The trap that she has built around herself is very strong, strong and unbelievably sad.

      Probably I will never hear from her again. Probably that is for the best.

      It sounds like you are on your way to recovery. Much peace and happiness to you. Keep yourself busy in nature; I think I may have to try to visit my nearby national parks too. πŸ™‚ If you feel you are about to slip again, remember what Marie said: “The real him is the one that hurts you and doesn’t think twice about it”.

      • Marie said

        Leif,
        You wrote many nice things. I hope your recovery gets easier as time passes. I want to respond to you about the mother of your ex with BPD.
        Both my parents had BPD. My maternal grandmother knew on some level that my mother was not normal. She did what she could to help me survive my parents and then supported me when I was old enough to get far away from my mother as I could and start my own life. I tried to bring my grandmother with me but she felt responsible for her child and chose to stay and subject herself to horrors I can only imagine. While she knew something was wrong with her daughter she didn’t know exactly what was wrong.
        My paternal grandmother thought my father walked on water. She never blamed him for any of the bad things he did to us (my mother and I). When my father died his mother cut me off from that side of the family because she hated my mother. Perhaps she was also BPD, who knows? In her case she either was blinded by my father’s good characteristics or was in denial there was something wrong with him because he was her oldest child and they were very close.
        When I dated a guy with BPD his parents also knew there was something wrong with him. They told him after 2 failed marriages he deserved to live alone because of the way he treated people. He had a hair trigger and could snap at anyone at any time for any reason. His parents adored me and wished we could make the relationship work out. They didn’t understand how sick he really is. When I decided to get out of the relationship and his parents witnessed for themselves the things he did to make me want to leave, they also decided to put more distance between themselves and their son. They wanted to push him to go to therapy. Even a year after we broke up and had no contact his parents would call me and tell me they hoped someday their son would be well so that he and I could resume our relationship. I politely told them nothing but changed the subject…inside I was yelling “no way in HELL am I going back to him”.
        So, yes, parents want the best for their children and some are blinded by their love for their children. A few years ago I didn’t even know what BPD was and I think many people are ignorant about mental disorders and/or how they can truly affect someone’s life and the lives of those around them. I wouldn’t blame the parents because I believe the ones that are aware feel bad/guilty there is something wrong with their children that they can’t fix. Maybe they try to fix it and feel like failures because the children didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to. Other parents may also have their own issues so their kids seem “normal” to them.
        I sometimes wish Savory Dish would go on Ellen and expose BPD for what it is. Then people would be more aware. Perhaps the pilot that crashed that plane and others like him would be taken seriously and be prevented from causing innocent people harm. The more people know about PD in general the better. Mental illness is not being taken seriously enough today in general.
        All of the people I have known with BPD knew there was something not right about themselves. They all feel deeply distressed, play the victim when relationships (intimate, family or friends included) didn’t work out (it’s NEVER their fault), all feel alone like nobody loves them, and felt guilty about how they treated other people (specific ones not everyone they hurt). They will get their victims to assure them they are GOOD and DESERVE love (while they can still wear their mask of goodness) and then when they know they have their victims in their thrall hook, line and sinker they FEAR being abandoned by the ones who love them the most so they do stuff to push those people away. Once the mask is off it will never go back on for very long.
        If your therapist says you are not to blame then YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME, Leif. Be well and stop doubting yourself.
        Hugs,
        Marie

      • savorydish said

        Thanks for sharing, Marie. And no plans to be on Ellen yet πŸ˜‰

      • Leif said

        Thank you all for your help and concern. Marie, it was good of you to share your story.

        I’m not doing well but I’m resisting contacting her; it wouldn’t be any use anyway.

      • jimsc said

        Very. True. I. Kept. Contacting. Mine. All. It. Did. Was. Make. It. Worse. Than. Ever

      • Leif said

        Ugh, I’m not well. Close to cracking and reaching out. These last few days have been some of the worst yet.

    • Leif said

      I have started blogging about what happened. Maybe it will help. Here it is: http://clusterb-ombed.blogspot.com/

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