SRS Anyone here have experience dealing with a relative with BPD?

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by deusexaethera, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I just made a connection tonight between a particularly dysfunctional behavior I have and a factor in my upbringing. I want to know if anyone else has had a similar experience and knows how to move past it.

    My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder. She won't admit to it, but the family psychologist is convinced of it, and everyone who's heard a description of the disorder immediately says "yep, that's her alright." For those who don't know, BPD is a disorder wherein you have a fantasy world inside your head, much like other forms of psychosis, but you can subconsciously switch between paying attention to the fantasy world or paying attention to reality, sometimes multiple times a minute. It usually manifests itself in the form of someone who seems functional but not quite tuned-in, who then goes absolutely apeshit without warning when some small detail (significant only to them) forces them to acknowledge that reality is not going according to plan. Of course, since they're unaware of the switch between fantasy and reality, it seems to them like random shit is happening for no good reason and the world refuses to follow its own rules, just to piss them off. So they get back at the world through increasingly harsh treatment of it, for increasingly insignificant reasons (as far as others are concerned).

    Okay, now combine that with codependence and conditional love, and frappé for a few seconds. Are we getting a nice foamy mixture of fuckedupness? Good.

    So, the way this relates to me is, I was codependently-involved with (and therefore responsible for the emotional state of) someone who would extend or withdraw love and support for reasons that made sense only if I knew what was going on in her fantasy world. I didn't, of course, but I had to try to compensate anyway. I'm a smart guy, if I can kiss my own ass for a moment, and I'm really good at recognizing patterns in things. (whether this is innate or practiced, I don't know.) Well, it's virtually impossible to detect patterns when a good chunk of the data is obeying different rules and is hidden from view (i.e. my mother's fantasy world), but what I could reliably predict was the best and worst possible outcomes, provided that weapons weren't involved. (They never were, for the record. I did get awakened by getting hit with a wooden spoon a few times, though.) I got really good at predicting best and worst outcomes; it was more or less a survival instinct, so I could prepare appropriate responses for each.

    This all relates to how I interact with women as an adult. If I'm not attracted to a woman, it has absolutely no effect -- they're just another person, and I deal with them appropriately. But when I am attracted to a woman, the part of my brain that notices the potential to receive love and affection kicks into gear, and absolutely every tiny fucking little detail of my interactions with the woman I have my eye on gets fed into this learned behavior of "I can't tell what she's thinking, but I can at least predict the best and worst outcomes." And then I feel compelled to try to manipulate the outcome in my favor! Which I can't do, of course, except with someone who's codependent, but thank god most people aren't; even though it robs me of the control I seem to think I have, I don't have to deal with it either.

    Now, everyone does that to an extent. But when I do it, because I could reasonably expect for things to actually work out in the best or worst possible way when I was a kid, I actually take these predictions seriously. I can talk to a girl for five minutes about any random thing and come away wondering what colors she might pick for her wedding vs. whether I'd be able to find a decent job if she got me convicted of rape. (Those are made-up examples, but they are accurate regarding the severity of the outcomes I think about.)

    That kind of shit causes a lot of stress. That stress is sometimes visible, too; I can feel my face go pale for what I'm sure appears to be no good reason, I tense up, and sometimes I even twitch a little bit -- as a result of suppressing violent shivering like what I might do if I were naked and wet in the middle of a snowstorm. If I do get involved with whoever I'm interested in, the effects only get worse: nausea, shaking that I can't suppress, erectile dysfunction, and everything in between. It's great fun.

    And yet, all of that aside, all I have to do is find out that she's not just looking for cheap sex, that she really does want to get to know me better, and it's like someone took a big syringe of valium and shot it into my chest. The feeling of relief is immediate and overwhelming, to the point that all of my muscles relax and I involuntarily start grinning like a damned fool. And then I'm fine, from there forward. So it's not hopeless, it's just the period before I really know someone's intentions that causes me problems.

    So, how do I get past that? And don't say "date a bunch of women you don't care about", because I have no interest in most women. It's a very specific combination of traits that I like, and I simply don't care about the rest. I need to find a way to deal with the fight-or-flight problem I have by itself.
     
  2. Darketernal

    Darketernal Watch: Aria The Origination =)

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    The best solution is 'not caring' , if you ask yourself the question why do I get anxious, shiver,grin etc etc? Its because you 'care' about what that woman you find attractive thinks about you, that way you are making it hard for yourself by putting up an uneccessary barrier. If you didn't give a damn about the outcome of the conversation you have with a woman you like 'either getting dumped or dating' you'd have a lot more succes because you would change your approuch towards the situation.

    Like this it becomes a win win situation. If you always go for gold regardless of caring for the outcome and would ask her out and she says no, then you can never blame yourself for not trying ,whilde doing this you've obtained some dating experience and then you can move on with your life,however if she says yes you've got a date.


    So in other words the borderline personality disorder that your mother confronted you with as a child has made you go on the defense for woman in general that you like. In this you try to exert as much control as you can just in order not to get hurt by them. It may have been a good defense against your mother but its general not the way how to deal with woman.

    You have to understand that there are things in this world that you can't control, those aren't just hurricanes,earthquakes,tornado's but also wether a person loves you or not, love is not something that is forced off, rather its something you let go for someone else to receive + vice versa.

    You see everyone (including your mother) has a certain 'image' in their mind of how they would like to see the world, as you before said it, if this 'real world' doesn't not coinside with the fantasy world they get angry. Instead of dealing with it in terms of the possible best or worst outcome, although its a bit shamefull it is often easier just to give them their 'image of the world' by just doing what they want you to do, then to deal with their berserk episodes if they don't get what they want.

    Although its not an easy task, try to look more at the general picture and steer towards loving and helping people unconditionally.
     
  3. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    The bit about how everyone has an image in their mind of how the world should be, isn't entirely accurate. In my mother's case, it's not just an image of how the world should be, it's what she thinks the world is actually like. So when something disrupts that, it isn't just an unwelcome reminder that the world isn't perfect, it actually seems to be violating the laws of the way she thinks the world works. To use a cheesy analogy, it's like a flaw in the Matrix -- were it not for periodic disruptions, it would be totally believable to her. She'll make plans involving the family and nobody else will know. She'll swear up and down she told people things she never told them. If she goes somewhere that she's imagined being before, she'll sometimes be confused when things are different than she thought they would be, as if she doesn't know she was just speculating. It's very difficult to deal with.

    Anyway, the question at hand is how to unlearn the behavior of obsessing over details and trying to read them like so many tea leaves. I really, really don't want to just hit on random women, though. I'm not just looking for cheap sex with anyone who's willing; I have certain criteria I look for in a woman. And I dunno if this is a weird thing or not, but I instinctively care what women who I'm attracted to think of me. Doesn't everyone? Isn't that what all the horseshit guys do to attract attention is about?

    I do love and help unconditionally. When my grandfather died, I drove four hours to be at my dad's house when he got home; my mom didn't know if it was appropriate, given the troubles they had at the time. It's actually a fairly common occurrence for me to step in and help someone with something, and then say "you're welcome" and carry on my way. Shit, after all I've been through with my mom, I still treat her well and do favors for her and visit every holiday. I don't want to kiss my ass too much, but a couple of my friends have told me to my face I have the makings of a saint. Unconditional affection is not my problem; I like being affectionate. Not knowing how to deal with unpredictable, conditional affection (whether real or perceived) is my problem.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2009
  4. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    If I were going to cliff-notes my first post, it's like I feel like I'm building a house of cards, and even the tiniest wrong move will bring the whole thing crashing down, and I'm simultaneously excited about finishing it and scared I'll knock it down, so I try to plan the entire construction in my head beforehand. Except that the cards are bits of personal interaction, and I don't get to place the cards, I only get to choose which ones I give them, meaning that I also feel compelled to try to predict which cards they're going to set properly and which they won't.

    It's an absurd, sadistic puzzle, bordering on "pick a number between 1 and 10, and if you pick the wrong number you have to sleep in the basement tonight", which is why I'd like to get it out of my head. It ties me up in knots so tight that sometimes I can only get to sleep by sprinting on my bike until I'm about to collapse from exhaustion.

    I'd like to assume the "house of cards" analogy is totally inaccurate regarding the likelihood of failure, but I honestly don't have a huge wealth of experience to draw on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2009
  5. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Well, here's an interesting development.

    I talked with my father about this, and I'm generally disinclined to talk to him about how family issues relate to the larger world, because I find his advice to be..."obtuse" is the best word I can come up with...and besides, he's dealing with divorce shit right now. But I had to talk to someone, so I did, and this time his reaction was more or less: "Oh my god, I thought I was the only one." Apparently his lawyer is convinced, from reading some of his emails, that he's an abused spouse, and my brother and I are abused children. Not consciously, not intentionally, but abused nonetheless.

    Multiple points of reference are nice to have; it makes me more confident that I'm not just smoking something.
     
  6. erynne936

    erynne936 my av is a car, but i'm a girl. stop calling me b OT Supporter

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    growing up with a personality-disordered parent is an emotionally abusive environment, even if not physically abusive. i would say that this reaction that you have is post traumatic stress disorder from dealing with your mother all your life. these coping mechanisms helped you to survive in childhood, but are no longer useful in your life/relationships. i would highly recommend you seek therapy. (not just get put on a bunch of pills, actual counseling/therapy.) this is an excellent website with support forums for those with family members who are BPD. perhaps it may be helpful to you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009
  7. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    You forgot the link.

    Anyway, I'm all for working out bad behaviors instead of medicating them, so I don't need to be talked away from taking pills.

    Thanks for confirming that my rant is not crazy. It's always good to get an external perspective. The two things I need to reinforce, I think, are 1) stop analysing every tiny little detail, because 2) most women are not crazy and therefore do not make decisions about me based on things that only exist in their minds. Right now I'm focusing on #1, because it's easy to reprimand myself when I catch myself enacting elaborate scenarios in my head. Hopefully time and practice will make that one go away.
     
  8. Darketernal

    Darketernal Watch: Aria The Origination =)

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    I think this is the essence of what is going wrong and what is creating your nightmare scenario. Its not just the misconceptions that your mom has, if you look at it there are many people who have inaccurate views on how the world really works. Now there's nothing wrong with that in the sense that as people grow and mature thru trial and error they set their inaccurate views aside and learn to replace them with more accurate views along with adopting new learned experiences to deal with their problems in a different way. It becomes a long term problem however if a person is unwilling or unable like your mother to adapt to how reality really works that it indeed becomes a 'disorder'.

    You see a parent is a 'rolemodel' and especially in their younger years kids copy their parents blindly, this 'distortion' and disorderly way of thinking is then copied which in its turn 'if you are willing to accept it,because its important into accepting the reality as it really works' is what is causing you to have such a non functional emotional approuch towards woman which is giving you so much trouble.

    You know just listening to you, i don't think there is intellectually anything wrong with you, however emotionally there is. And i've been here for a bit so every now and then people come drop by in here and say "i am a smart kid, did university,have this high reputation dadda dadda' in order not to make themselves look bad in front of the people who read it or to give away underlying weak points that happen in relationships,family ties, or in other words on the emotional surface. What i therefore find so disturbing is that you actually had to fend off your mother intellectually by trying to constantly analyze the good or worst case scenario's in everything that you said or did. Its therefore really not suprising that you had to constantly stand on your toes to be on the lookout and gaurd as the result of your moms disorder.


    I think its best to aknowledge that you experience a LOT of emotional damage as a result of that ,from here on you have to grab the bull by the horns so to speak,
    Its therefore absolutely fantastic that you have started to try to 'emotionally rebalance' yourself, and my advice would most definitly be to keep on rebalancing your feelings.

    I am not trying to impose some new age stuff or anything but just purely for balancing reasons, bhuddism, yoga and reiki healing are pathways you can choose for getting rid of disturbed emotional feelings.

    Its important to therefore get rid of your bad incorrect emotional views and adapt and replace them with correct functional emotional perspectives. If i where you i would adapt those views from other succesfull people around you although i also encourage to shape your own views to such an extend that they carry you thru a balanced act of dealing with woman in a proper way.

    And i can already actually say and see what is going wrong on the emotional level of approuching woman.

    There's two things you can do when your card house comes down, cry over the ruins or build it in such a way that it won't happen again. In other words You need to get a LIFE OF YOUR OWN. A healthy woman doesn't expect her husband to be mothered by her, she wants to lean on your shoulders instead. Therefore you need to show a woman you are not dependant of her,instead that she can depend on you. That way you show emotional responsibility , that is confidence and attractive. Its perfectly ok to have your own certain type of interest in a certain type of woman, and liking someone doesn't mean automatically you have to change your entire life just to please her. A woman should love you for who you are, if they don't accept you for who you are as a person then that woman is no good for you. It'll be neverending conflict, and you want to steer away from that.

    So still honestly in terms of dating the best way is not to care what a woman thinks about you, just put your mind on zero and talk to her. Now wether she rejects you or accepts you that's something up for her to decide, your life will continue on with or without her. But what really matters is if you think in terms of winning, you win, if you think in terms of losing you lose. Its much better to say, ok i have myself as a basis. Without lying I am perfectly fine if i continue my life the way i do as usual. If i can gain a date by talking to her its a winn situation for me. If i am rejected, oh well there's more fish in the sea and i still have myself so nothing is lost. That's a whole better approuch then 'omfg im going to lose her + panick attack' and feel worse faking yourself over losing something that you actually didn't own in the first place.

    You know a lot more emotional balancing then just the above has to take place, in order to reach intellectual stability you first need to achieve emotional stability. You know i consider the perfect emotional state of being as a 'if you can imagine with me' a lake inside of cave, no wind disturbs the water, the surface is motionless and not even a droplet of water falls from the cave into it. If your emotions are like a ragin storm on a ocean then something is going seriously wrong. Its therefore essential for your own sanity's sake that the emotional ocean calms down and is put to rest at ease.
     
  9. erynne936

    erynne936 my av is a car, but i'm a girl. stop calling me b OT Supporter

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    link fixed.

    i know exactly what you are talking about with the "house of cards." my sister and i are a product of a dysfunctional family, with undiagnosed narcissist/bpd parents. (npd/bpd people will ususually not get therapy, as they do not feel there is anything wrong with them - it's everyone else!) we have both been in therapy for a couple of years and we both feel that it has improved our lives immensely. i tried to do it on my own with books, etc, but therapy changed my life.

    anyhow, my sister used to do the same thing you described... planning the entire construction of how something could go beforehand... and you make yourself crazy doing that! i used to say she was making flow charts in her head - mapping out every possible scenario that might happen.

    a couple of books that might be helpful to you would be "The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power" by Vernon Howard or anything by Ekhart Tolle - these are great for learning to stay in the present. For BPD "Walking on Eggshells" by Mason & Kreger is great. I have also heard that "Understanding the Borderline Mother" is fabulous, though I have not had the chance to read it yet.
     
  10. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Darketernal, everything you say makes sense except for this one line:

    Not that there isn't a coherent thought behind it, I think it's just poorly worded. I couldn't really make sense of it.

    Anyway, thanks for the compliments. This is not my first time around the block in terms of dealing with a heretofore unknown emotional trauma; when I was a teenager I was a LOT more fucked-up, and I spent a few years talking to a psychologist; that's where I learned how to step back, piece things together, test the hypothesis, and generally apply the scientific method to the inner workings of my own mind. Mostly what I needed here was for someone to tell me my hypothesis made sense, that I didn't have any gaps in my reasoning where new factors could sneak in that would blow my analysis all to hell. I think I've gotten that from you.

    Further thoughts:

    Regarding trying to "win over" women I'm attracted to: I've told myself and others for a while that it's useless to try to convince someone to like you, because you're both already the people you are, and so you're already either a good match or not, and all you're doing is finding out which one is the case. I've been unable to really act upon it for reasons that have already been discussed, but I do understand the principle of the thing.

    Regarding the "other fish in the sea": Unlike some guys, my criteria are unfortunately very exclusive, so I rarely have more than one line in the water at a time -- in fact, most of the time I don't have any lines in the water at all. There just aren't that many women whom I'm really interested in. As such, it's inevitable that I'm going to be more concerned about the outcome of each encounter, but I think if I can just get past the insane over-analysis of every tiny interaction, I'll be fine-ish.

    Regarding the "lake inside a cave": At this point in my life, I am mostly in the state you describe. The tide ebbs and flows a bit, but on the whole there is balance. People trust me with issues all the time; not like they're confessing to a priest, but pretty close sometimes. When I talked to a couple of people I trust about the topic of this thread, they were nothing less than shocked that there was anything I could possibly get this worked-up about.

    It's interesting that you chose the image of the lake as one's emotional state, because I have many times before described this problem I have as "when starting a relationship, most people talk about having butterflies, but I don't get the butterflies, I get the hurricane." The lake in a cave sounds very appealing, though I think I'd prefer not having to shelter the lake inside a cave at all. (shrug) Maybe I'll get there eventually.
     
  11. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Funny you should mention it; my father already has "Walking on Eggshells", and he loaned it to me a while ago. I just don't have the patience to read books anymore, though; I read shit all goddamned day at work.

    But yes, high-functioning psychotics don't realize they're crazy, because they can still get by; it's the rest of the world that's just a little fucked-up.

    It's good to know I'm not the only one. :hs:
     
  12. erynne936

    erynne936 my av is a car, but i'm a girl. stop calling me b OT Supporter

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    you don't have to let your life be ruined by her.... you deserve to be happy and not feel crazy all the time... please seriously consider therapy :hug:
     
  13. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Thanks. I don't feel crazy all the time, only about this one thing. (of course, when it's in-play, then I do feel crazy all the time.)

    But anyway, I've gone to therapy in the past, and while I recognize its benefits, I have to say I'm not sure it can help me at this point. By the end of my treatment as a teenager (which actually extended into college a bit), my psychologist didn't really have any remaining advice except to "get out there" and practice what he taught me. As far as I can tell, that's what I'm doing right now.
     
  14. erynne936

    erynne936 my av is a car, but i'm a girl. stop calling me b OT Supporter

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    ok, sorry, not all the time.

    all therapists are different... maybe that was all you were ready for at the time... perhaps you are ready for more now.
     
  15. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Well, I decided to conduct a little experiment today, in the interest of not bashing my mom for all the shit she did without also examining myself for the same behaviors. So, I decided to count the number of times I found myself having imaginary conversations in my head -- not just composing my thoughts into words, but actually saying them to an imaginary someone, and especially answering myself.

    I lost count. It happened every few seconds at times. I even caught myself asking myself why I kept interrupting myself.

    On the bright side, I know from extensive feedback from my college friends that my real flaw when it comes to such things is that I'll say something to someone and then forget I said it to them, instead of saying it to their imaginary stand-in inside my head and forgetting to tell them in real life. Which means I at least know the difference between the conversations I have in my head vs. conversations I have with actual people.

    Nonetheless, it's clear to me that I talk to myself far, far too much, and no doubt this aggravates the hell out of my other bad habit, of trying to predict how crazy people are going to react to me. Oye.

    I wish I'd had more friends as a child; I might never have developed all these bad habits. :( And to think some people have drinking problems; I have a thinking problem. Hell, a good strong beer is the only thing that shuts this shit off inside my head.

    Maybe I should develop a drinking problem. :hahano:
     
  16. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    omg omg omg :run:

    Sorry to be all emo and shit, but I literally just figured something out an hour ago. Stay tuned for more of your favorite drama.

     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  17. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    No more comments? Hmm. I was kinda hoping someone had some input. I can psychoanalyse myself all day; the fun part is finding out if my diagnosis makes sense to anyone but me.
     
  18. Darketernal

    Darketernal Watch: Aria The Origination =)

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    I'll translate it hopefully into a thing you understand.

    In normal cases kids copy their parents. IF a kid copies the wrong even shit idea's of how the world works or behaviour from a parent -> kid turns into having shit ideas about how the world works themselves-> which gives them equal troubles because their ideas do not correspond to with how the world actually works.

    I hope that this explains and gives a better idea on why this 'disturbed' emotional state of being needs to be corrected into a correct emotional state of being that that corresponds equally with how the world really works.

    So to give a representation of your emotional state of being. If your mind isn't tuned correctly(like an fm radio) the only thing you hear is a bunch or gorrrggle noises and nonsense, if you change it however the tuner to the right frequency you'll hear music.

    Now every person has their own frequency, and you have to 'be in tune' with them in order to have a corresponding decent conversation with them. For instance someone who likes to talk only about fishes would not be interested in listening if i was talking to them about televisions, BUT the moment i start to talk to that person about fishes, i get this 'tuned' connection i was talking about and this in response will give a correct and best response with this person. It really works this way, hell even scientifically we talk about brain waves or frequencies, so everything steers towards that this actually really works this way, you might want to try it out but i'll leave it up to you, the point is..

    This is important, why? Because your mother has been 'out of tune' with reality all of your life, and she has 'tuned you' out of reality as well. So like with a surgery for someone who has a bended spine a correction is needed to pull things straight,so in order to put you 'back in tune' with how reality works you have to change your 'emotional state of mind' into a healthy corresponding way how things work in reality.

    So the letter you send to Sherry really makes sense to me and i couldn't agree more on it.

    You know but i want to tell you a few things from my personal experience because i am worried about a few things in how you approuch woman and the standards that you apply to them.

    Now i know you are setting high standards and are unwilling to step away from them , now don't get me wrong setting standards is a 'good' thing, it prevents garbage from walking into your life, however there is an equation to it.

    The higher you set your standards, the harder it is to get a girl. Up even to the point you wont ever get a girl at all. I've seen a couple of guys do this and i tell you they do it up to the point where they end up being lonely for decades , no friends , no girlfriends aka in other words their lives suck ,especially because they don't know what they are missing out in life while they themselves think 'im living the best life there is out there in the universe' whilst they contain themselves living into less space then a dog house. They suffer from tunnelvision they think its normal because this is all their eyes can perceive.

    The question arises , 'are your standards justified?' in 9/10 cases its not justified at all, lets have an example how most men discriminate thru their choices ,imagine, you have the choice between a beautifull woman and an woman who lost a leg and an arm. Most immature guys would choose the beautifull woman in a heartbeat without even considering the fact that a mental corresponding connection is necessary to make a succesfull relationship.

    But how can you know everything about a woman if you have never dated her? So many woman get so easily rejected for numerous of reasons that if they would get a chance they could turn out to be quite the right woman. You need to give her a chance as wel as giving yourself a chance deusexaethera, i tell you you don't live life if you say 'no' to everything, the movie Yes man with Jim Carry is something you should watch, of course the whole thing is absurdly overexaggerated but there is a valid point in the end to it. Im really not asking you to throw all your standards overboard, im just asking to give everyone at least one chance in life.
     
  19. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Your explanation of the sentence I didn't understand makes sense. I just needed to have it reworded.

    The point about giving myself a chance by giving other people a chance is well taken. I'm not very good at it yet, but I understand what you're saying.

    If I were going to sum up most of the rest of your post, I would say "you have to relate to people on their terms." Is that about accurate? If so, I already agree, and to the extent that I don't go off the deep-end, that's exactly what I try to do when interacting with people. However, other people seem to have a very hard time (or maybe a lack of interest) in relating to me on my terms, not least because my terms don't mesh with "normal people" interests very well, and I think that's where I get in trouble. When I run into someone who can and does relate to me on my terms, even just a little bit, it's such a rare event that I go completely ass-over-teakettle with excitement -- which would be fine by itself, I suppose, but then the runaway imagination and overanalysis and pseudo-BPD idolization starts happening, and that gurgling sound you hear is my sanity going down the drain.

    Thus far, mentally slapping myself for overanalyzing and daydreaming is working well -- my head is much quieter now -- but I'm not really sure what to do about helping people relate to me on my terms more often, so it's not such an amazing thing that I lose my perspective when it does come along. I pick up bits and pieces of "normal" from people I meet, and try to integrate them into my life, and that's definitely helped me be able to walk into a room and start talking to people, but the conversation never seems to evolve towards an interest in me -- or maybe I should say, an interest in the concepts that comprise my core. Maybe I'm expecting too much, I dunno.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2009
  20. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Attaaack of the zommmmbie threaaaaad! :hammer:

    Seriously though, I sent a copy of this thread to a friend who's a research psychologist months ago, and he finally got time to read it. I rehashed the whole thing with him, and he asked me why stuff my mother did decades ago is still affecting my behavior towards other women -- as he put it, my interactions with my mother nowadays are not the same as they were when I was a kid, and there aren't enough of them anyway to sustain my behavior. That got me thinking.

    Over the next couple of hours of talking to him, I eventually put 2+2 together: the imaginary interactions I daydream about when I'm not able to actually talk to someone I'm attracted to are something he calls "conversation modeling"; basically I take everything I know about someone and roll it together into a mental puppet that I talk to in my head, and if the conversation doesn't go well I hit "Reset" and try again until I get the result I want.

    Everyone does this to a certain extent. The problem I have (or had, because I've since learned to catch myself and stop doing this), is that the mental puppet doesn't work without a complete personality, and since I don't know much about someone when I first meet them, the remaining personality traits are "donated" from my mother.

    Aha! Now I know why I get so stressed-out about trying to interpret what should be meaningless details -- all along I've been indirectly assuming that my mother is representative of women as a whole, via the process of using her personality as a baseline, even though I know consciously that the assumption is false. That means I've also been assuming that tiny details are actually significant indicators of how other women are feeling, or at least grossly overestimating their significance in that regard. That might work for people who have mentally-healthy mothers, but I can't use the "conversation modeling" technique to predict how someone I just met will react -- I simply don't have a good generic female personality to work with.

    So, that makes it doubly obvious why I can't continue to talk to myself about relationships I'd like to have -- not only does it solidify a best-case fantasy that is unhealthy to think about too much, but it also causes me to react to a woman I'm interested in as though she's someone other than who she really is. No wonder things haven't been going my way.

    However, the question still remains, how to deal with the stress of not knowing what someone is really like during the initial phase of getting to know them. I'm not sure I have the willpower necessary to force myself to not think about it at all, so I need either an alternate approach to predict the future or else a damn good logical reason why I should just give up, drink more, and think less.

    Suggestions?
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
  21. no lol today

    no lol today Soy la bailarina de la muerta. OT Supporter

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    Oh. ... OH. Wow. BPD. Ok. This is my mother TO A TEE. That explains a lot. I always knew she was a whack job. Fairly isolative ... denies certain events ever happened ... treats me like crap, especially when I talk about my disability junk ... I just never quite drew the line there. I'm definitely VERY well rehearsed in anticipating crazy person reactions as well as more healthy peoples' reactions. Pretty much compulsively.

    I dated a conscientious narcissist once. I felt really stupid for not recognizing that he was a crazy person, but he was REALLY good at hiding it. I'd known him for a number of years - he was a friend of a friend. After not seeing him for at least a year or two we met again & he looked like he'd loosened up a bit. I'd always known him to be a superpreppy uptight east coast nerd dude. The loosened up version no longer clung to tapered khakis & polo shirts. I figured he'd finally recovered from his divorce. Nope. Just a tactic. This guy did everything he could to reach out to people for the sole purpose of feeling like he had power over them. Under the guise of a philisophical humanitarian he built an image (Went through the same shpeel each time he was introduced to someone new.) he built himself a pretty eclectic social network. I don't know if I can believe any stories he told me of his past, but given his job & salary at the time I wouldn't bat too many eyelashes. He liked power. And money. He pretended to be humble & made jokes about being "above reproach," but the jokes were just a glimpse into the real motives. I think I was a challenge to him. Some lost soul that he could manipulate and recruit into his little fan club. I was in it for food, sex & philosophy. He was in it to change me. He got pretty agitated when he started to see that my own views on politics, religion and sociology were starting to influence his own. I didn't back down and simply accept him as absolutely credible in debates. When I went forward with something that he clearly stated he objected to, that was the last straw. Dude came unhinged. He had failed to control me. He said a lot of crazy things in that breakup talk we had ... I hightailed it out of there shortly after he said "I am a very powerful and pursuasive man. I can control what people think and the decisions they make." Then he proceeded to seduce my best friend (Who he percieved as weak due to serious events in her family & private life at the time) got her drunk & tried to destroy the friendship. Apparently, he'd been trying to get into her pants the whole time we were dating. Ordained minister and scumbag, extroardionaire.

    You've really got to live & learn. There are all kinds of crazy out there & it's gotta be next to impossible to recognize each & every one in each & every manifestation. Your experience with BPD was obviously painful and exhausting, but my philosophy is that sane is boring. You might look back on it as an eye opener that expanded your knowledge and understanding of people. Sounds like it might just be the enlightenment you really need to find a situation that will pay off in love & happiness.

    If you ask me, those of us who grow up with nutjob parents become perverted & actually end up needing some of that personal upheaval in our lives ... but in more of a compensatory fashion. If that makes any sense ... Probably doesn't.
     
  22. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Ordained minister. :rofl: Why am I not surprised?

    That's quite a story; almost seems like it should be its own thread, if it's something you're still trying to sort out. I'm not sure how it relates to the question I asked though, which is: how do "normal" people deal with the problem that they don't know someone until they know someone?

    If I can wax mathematical for a moment, the behavior of a crazy person can be compared to the behavior of the stock market (ignoring any implications of mass hysteria for the moment). In both cases, there are several variables at play, and some of them are not only unknown but unknowable -- it's impossible to say for sure who will decide to buy or sell which stock on which day, which is why the activity is called "speculation" in the first place. However, since we live in a deterministic universe, the variables that can't be known ahead of time do nonetheless have defined values, and the stock market reacts accordingly -- which is where it comes in handy to have historical data, to compare the known variables with the ultimate outcome at the end of each day, to try to predict future events more accurately.

    Now, in the case of my immediate family and friends, I have a wealth of historical data to work with; in most cases, I never need to touch it because they behave rationally, and in other (aforementioned) cases I can fall back on past experience to help me predict future interactions.

    But I can't do that with people I've just met. This causes me quite a lot of stress, because I guess I haven't yet conditioned myself to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are in fact sane and rational beings. In fact, I might never get to the point where that comes naturally to me. Is there any other tactic I can use to work around this problem, if not work through it?
     
  23. no lol today

    no lol today Soy la bailarina de la muerta. OT Supporter

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    You can blatantly come forward with your own concerns by asking them, on a scale of 1 - 10, to rate their craziness. Some people will lie about it through their teeth, as the BPD & conscientious narcissist issues makes clear. Maybe the follow up conversation would be a closer look. Anyone who makes very assertive comments that seem as if they're clinging to a social stereotype for identity might be sending you red flags. People who don't define themselves so clearly might lean toward a healthier mentality ... unless they're too choked up by the question to come up with any answer at all. :dunno:
     
  24. polishillusion

    polishillusion New Member

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    Research demonstrates that trauma focused CBT is effective in helping people who have been negatively effected by "traumatic" events linked to someone elses mental illness.

    I'll find the meta-analyzes for you soon.
     
  25. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Meta-analyses?
     

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