Sanctuary for the Abused

Friday, January 04, 2013

Common "games" between those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) & 'Normals'


Common "games" between those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and those who do not have BPD

(note: BPD is similar in it's expression to Narcissism; but not the same disorder)

Feelings Create Facts

In general, emotionally healthy people base their feelings on facts. If your dad came home drunk every night (fact) you might feel worried or concerned (feeling). If your boss complimented you on a big project (fact) you would feel proud and happy (feeling).

People with BPD, however, may do the opposite. When their feelings don't fit the facts, they may unconsciously revise the facts to fit their feelings. This may be one reason why their perception of events is so different from yours.

Splitting: (I Hate You—Don't Leave Me)

People with BPD may have a hard time seeing gray areas. To them, people and situations are all black or white, wonderful or evil. This process of splitting serves as another defense mechanism. Peter, who has BPD, explains: "Dividing the world into good or evil makes it easier to understand. When I feel evil, that explains why I am the way I am. When you are evil, that explains why I think bad things about you."

Tag, You're It : A Game of Projection

Some people with BPD who act out may use a more complicated type of defense mechanism — we've named it "Tag, You're It"- to relieve their anxiety, pain, and feelings of shame. It's more complex because it combines shame, splitting, denial, and projection.

People with BPD usually lack a clear sense of who they are, and feel empty and inherently defective. Others seem to run away from them, which is lonely and excruciatingly painful. So borderlines cope by trying to "tag" or "put" these feelings onto someone else. This is called projection.

Projection is denying one's own unpleasant traits, behaviors, or feelings by attributing them (often in an accusing way) to someone else. In our interview with Elyce M. Benham, M.S., she explained that projection is like gazing at yourself in a hand-held mirror. When you think you look ugly, you turn the mirror around. Voila! Now the homely face in the mirror belongs to somebody else.

Sometimes the projection is an exaggeration of something that has a basis in reality. For example, the borderline may accuse you of "hating" them when you just feel irritated. Sometimes the projection may come entirely from their imagination: for example, they accuse you of flirting with a salesclerk when you were just asking for directions to the shoe department.

The BP's unconscious hope is that by projecting this unpleasant stuff onto another person-by tagging someone else and making them "it" like a game of Tag — the person with BPD will feel better about themselves. And they do feel better, for a little while. But the pain comes back. So the game is played again and again.

Projection also has another purpose: your loved one unconsciously fears that if you find out they're not perfect, you will abandon them. Like in the Wizard of Oz, they live in constant terror that you'll discover the person behind the curtain. Projecting the negative traits and feelings onto you is a way to keep the curtain closed and redirect your attention on the perfect image they've tried to create for themselves.

How can people with BPD deny that they are projecting when it is so obvious to everyone else? The answer is that shame and splitting may combine with projection and denial to make the "Tag, You're It" defense mechanism a more powerful way of denying ownership of unpleasant thoughts and feelings.

Some adults who enter into relationships with borderlines feel brainwashed by the BP's accusations and criticisms. Says Benham: "The techniques of brainwashing are simple: isolate the victim, expose them to inconsistent messages, mix with sleep deprivation, add some form of abuse, get the person to doubt what they know and feel, keep them on their toes, wear them down, and stir well."

Everything Is Your Fault

Continual blame and criticism is another defense mechanism that some people with BPD who act out use as a survival tool. The criticism may be based on a real issue that the person with BPD has exaggerated, or it may be a pure fantasy on the borderline's part.

Family members we interviewed have been raged at and castigated for such things as carrying a grocery bag the wrong way, having bed sheets that weighed too heavily on the BP's toes, and reading a book the BP demanded they read.

One exasperated non-BP said that if by some chance he didn't make an unforgivable error one day, his wife would probably rage at him for being too perfect.

If you object to the criticism or try to defend yourself, your loved one may accuse you of being defensive, too sensitive, or unable to accept constructive criticism. Since their very survival seems to be at stake, they may defend themselves with the ferociousness of a mother bear protecting her cubs. When the crisis has passed and the person with BPD seems to have won, they may act surprised that you're still upset.

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shared by Barbara at 12:05 AM


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11 Comments:

I've been blogging about my experiences with BPD men and after a couple of years of therapy, I have put together some tips on how identify them. It's not based purely on the "symptoms," but focuses more on you feel around them.
Plenty of people may have these symptoms, but not the actual disorder. I've found it helpful to learn how to listen to my own reaction to someone, rather than trying to make a list of their faults and personality traits. It's a much better system, in my opinion.
Boderline Boys (and 6 Ways to Spot Them)
http://strangedaysinthecity.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/boderline-boys-and-6-ways-to-spot-them/

4:42 PM  

Endless info online of how to identify people with BPD, no need to add more. What is needed is info on how to cope with it.

10:05 AM  

Actually, I,am really tired of the bpd whining and complaining that their so mis-understood- poor me bla,bla,bla I,am just SICK.
I,am waiting for the psychopath population to start chiming in, so they also don,t have to face the consequences and responsibility of their actions. Being sick is one thing. Hurting others with lying, smear campaigns, manipulation...etc, is another.
Abraham Lincoln said ; " you can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people some of the time, but you can,t fool all of the people all of the time ".........and unfortunately because they wear a shinny exterior when it suits them, they fool a lotta people a lotta times.

2:12 PM  

My Ex, although undiagnosed displays all symptoms of BPD. Everything is my fault. If kids are jumping in bed, ( my fault), if kids are picky eaters ( my fault), if kids socks are on couch, its my fault. NOTHING is ever good enough for him. I seriously feel this guy is mentally SICK. I found nothing I do is good enough for me. This guy will hold grudges no matter what. Took me 14 years to realise this. I am so HAPPY I am ending this. I have no self doubts, this guy is a psycho.

9:48 AM  

My soon-to-be ex hasn't been diagnosed either. Yet she exhibits many symptoms. Now she's trying to fleece me through the family court systems while she raises our 2 children. They've even told me that she lies to them to manipulate them. They could see this at age 5 and 9.
Every thing that she thinks I've done wrong in the past is magnified and she even throws in some extra historical accounts that don't jive with reality.
I don't know what to do. I don't want this lying control freak to turn me into her indentured servant with punishing childcare and spousal support. I already give her everything I have after expenses are paid.
People need to be warned before getting married. There has to be some litmus test.

3:42 PM  

I am a 37 years old woman, married with two kids. To this they my mom keeps abusing me. I myself finally diagnosed her, She has BPD. I have been abused with her, my dad alcoholic and sister with schezophrenia. Now I am have anxiety, and states of depression. Still being strong as I can be. But now I feel I am breaking more and more. Energy is escaping me. I can't deal with my mom anymore. Thanks God my dad and sister bother me less. I still feel I may get crazy any time soon.

6:14 PM  

I'm new at writing thing on the computer and I just after 10 years realized this May not all be my fault . I feel I am in crisis right now the only problem is I'm not sure if I'm with a bpd or I'm a bpd . Any advise?

4:51 PM  

i just experienced a lady with bpd, i loved this woman. i treated her like a queen, for 10 weeks, about a week and a half she would flip and i was worthless. she was separated and going through a divorce, all i did was console her, help her, love her. all of a sudden she dumps me as if i were trash, even threatened to call the police if i did not leave her alone. i remember her saying something about bpd earlier, but it did not register till now. she fit every single sign. the problem now for me is i still love her and adore her, but cant even talk to her for fear of her calling the police.

8:18 AM  

Ten years of a BPD relationship. Never again!

I knew something was off about her when she pleaded (sometimes even crying) to be my girlfriend after she had ignored me for a year. Suddenly, she was all over me again. And we all know what happens after that.

This pattern, minus the disappearing act, happened at least 14 times in seven years. She'd have a BF, yet be all over me, reminiscing, contacting me sometimes every morning at 7am. Then when I'd be caring and try close the gap, she'd pull away - almost frightened. The most extreme of which resulted in her begging me to 'take' her on my bed, before going back to her BF the next day, ending it with him some time later, chasing me for months, then running away again.

I loved her so much - still do. She was like a broken little girl, yet also a deranged, loose tyrant.

There's little else comparable to the pain of leaving someone you really love, in order to save your sanity and health. It took me years walk away from her. But I did, with no explanation.

2:13 PM  

Today I am fully aware that I shared my life with a Borderline Personality Disorder/Drug Addict. If only I had known sooner. I trusted, I hoped, I believed, I TRUSTED.

I lived with and married a man who seemed (that’s a very operative word here) to have me on a pedestal for 7 years. There was something not right for the duration, and I struggled greatly to try to put my finger on it. I suspected drug abuse and/or mental illness. I could confirm either. He heavily pointed the finger I sat in the middle of a storm I could not understand. A wide variety of irrational behavior unfolded before me- just a few were: intense mood swings, crippling anxiety, inability to focus or complete even the smallest tasks (he was even eventually medicated and diagnosed with ADD at one point), severe rages, outrageous doses of daily negativity, blaming of everyone else for his problems, lack of care for his home, portraying himself as a hero in public and online…and the list goes on and on. Eventually an intense power-struggle culminated with him blaming me for all his unhappiness and began a vicious campaign spreading lies about me. He tossed me out like the trash after years of begging me not to leave through his river of tears. Aside from what I hold in my own mind and heart, there is no hint of the good that was shared between us in those 7 years. I am forced to grieve the loss of so much: my home, my dogs, my business…and most of all, I am forced to grieve the loss of my best friend and a history with someone I loved so dearly that I now question if who I thought he was ever existed.

11:12 AM  

From the start I knew something was different. I thought: this is too good to be true. She would say things that made me wonder like: tell me what to do, when there was no subject matter. She was a adorable but then she dropped me like a piece of trash out of the blue. Almost like it was a plan to begin with. But she wanted to keep in contact. That was when the lies amplified, the manipulation: suddenly dropping out when confronted with issues. The total dropping out, leaving me in exile, only to return weeks later being sweet and nice, but not wanting to meet in person. People like in this situation were used to validate the love. Then when I got too close and started to learn too much, I had to be tossed aside. They do keep coming back. You must be strong. You must draw a line in the sand and say...behavior over this line is unacceptable. Don't be a push over! They will keep pushing until you are sick in your soul, spirit, body. Get healthy, find people that actually invest in the things you do. Find people with integrity!

2:32 PM  

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