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



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)

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  

All I get from my research is a confirmation of how fucked up the situation is. Is there something to release the guilt I have over wanting to leave my abusive BPD husband? I left in a separation as a follow-through for an ultimatum I gave about repeated acts of physical violence. I had all intentions of waiting it out, seeing if he would get help and stay sober (what a lot of people seem to miss in posts like these is the role of self-medicating in BPDs, particularly with alcohol). But the longer I am alone (it has only been two weeks now) and the more research I do, the less I want to give him yet another second chance.

I downplayed the situation for too long. Now that I am coming to see (in part because of my own new sobriety) how serious his actions have been, I can no longer make excuses for them.

6:31 PM  

I recently married my BPD boyfriend of 2 years. Now see it was a huge mistake. He seems to love me, want this relationship to work out, but at the expense of me accepting his rages, constant belittling me and bullying me, throwing things and hitting me with them during arguments, destroying my house, constant chatting with transgenders online, wouldn't be surprised if he hasn't cheated because he's an obvious sex addict and we have sex almost everyday and it is mostly to please him and he's very aggressive in bed, he can't keep a job and I'm always stuck financially struggling to support us yet he's got a spending problem and has increased the debt even more and seems to care less, has a horrible weed habit and expects me to buy that too even when he's not working (which is more than it should be), he's extremely selfish and doesn't mind expecting things and wants the best money can buy, irrationally jealous of me although I do nothing to deserve it, extreme double standards, drives recklessly, extremely lazy (basically lies around playing Xbox, getting high, and watching TV and sleeping because there's "nothing to do" when the house is a pig sty because of him and so much he's destroyed needs fixing). Only does things when I constantly ask him to. Like raising another child. FML

8:30 PM  

Totally agree!!! Being ill is no excuse for hurting others slandering their names just to play victim for sympathy!! BPD is more harmful nowadays with social network sites.. Where they tend to play their evil games out for attention

6:05 PM  

I thank everyone for these comments aa I'm trying to better myself with bpd. I appreciate the straight forward criticism as i learn from this

10:15 PM  

I am sickened by such hateful comments. Do any of you who are verbally bashing those with BPD have any real understanding of the disorder? Or what it's like living with a mental illness? My guess is no, if any of you knew what the experience is like I assure you your comments would be quite different. Those with BPD do not do what they do on purpose, or with malice or intent to be cruel. They do not consciously "Abuse" Do any of you comprehend that Borderline Personality Disorder is a severe, very serious and painful mental illness which also has the highest suicide rate?

No having BPD or any mental illness is not a license to hurt others, not an you realize most with BPD also have a secondary disorder just as serious? Do any of you know most with BPD have it as a result of horrific, repetitive, childhood sexual abuse usually by a parent? Do any of you know along with years of sexual abuse there is also torture involved? Can any of you even try to grasp the circumstances a child endures that is so traumatizing they break mentally? Of course are all to busy judging, whining, and complaining about how you were hurt blah someone with BPD. SHAME on all of you and Shame on this hateful website for promoting freedom to be so awful to a group of people, living with a mental illness any illness not just BPD! I am sure my comment won't be allowed through being moderated...But at least I can speak up for those living with a mental illness.

12:41 AM  

Classic. We've been tremendously hurt and would hope get compassion

12:44 PM  

Excuse me, but "understanding" nearly cost me MY life. I was left destroyed, a shell of the person I was, because I loved and truly cared and had compassion for someone with BPD. Just became its out of their control, doesn't mean anyone owes them their own happiness, or should accept such emotionally manipulative, hurtful people in their life. I made that mistake. Over and over again, until I was able to get a grip on just what I was dealing with. I TRIED to help. I did everything I could, stupidly, at my own expense, only to ultimately be treated with hate. I wish I had had someone to tell me this beforehand. I fell for this victim crap entirely too much, as have others, and WE are victims too. We have a right to be angry and to hold them accountable for what they did to us.

4:06 PM  

Being hurt and going through so much is absolutely no excuse to lie manipulate abuse or hurt other people. I have never been hurt as badly as I was by a BPD.

5:51 PM  

I would like to respond to this comment: "Being hurt and going through so much is absolutely no excuse to lie, manipulate, abuse or hurt other people", and I would like to respond through a question. Would it be ok if you had been treated ideally by a similar person?
If not, you're lying.
If yes, him or her being hurt and going through so much would practically be a letter of recommendantion, since you would probably not change the tiniest little component of what makes that person who he is, or he might not be as good with you as he is.
Would you rather be treated ideally by a villain, or like shit by a nice guy? It happens.
I'm guessing you'd like to be treated humanely by a normal guy, since both extremes (villain vs nice, ideally vs like shit) are scary.

My point is that, disturbed or not, nobody should treat anybody like shit.
But, since that isn't the case, one should try to understand what makes HIMSELF so susceptible to irrationality. Because tell me that it isn't irrational to look the other way when the signs are there SHOUTING "GO AWAY!! I'M TROUBLE!!".
The one hurting you at that point is the one not protecting you sufficiently: YOU.

Would YOU treat anyone like crap? Sure you would. The question is, who? The answer probably is "Anyone who treats me like crap, directly (me) or indirectly (someone close, sharing views etc)". But isn't that like saying that "being hurt and going through so much" inflicted by somebody, you'll righteously respond? Who cares whether it comes from way back or just that instant? It's malicious.

I think that our egos are so big that they'll allow themselves to hurt others or selves, while not accepting the same attitude by others.
And I think that a normal ego would never hurt himself for starters, let alone others. A disordered person needs therapy, no doubt. What about the one mingling with the disordered?

So, before pointing fingers further than where the finger's point is legitimized, lets try some self criticism and self restraint. You see trouble coming - and you ALWAYS DO if you stare, you tell yourself straight in the face, hold him fully responsible for his choices.

I saw the signs with my 38 year old BPD beauty, and chose to look the other way. And yes, I got seriously damaged. Never again will I ignore the signs, if and when I find myself ready to play ball again.

By the way, it lasted two months, she made me leave a month ago and hasn't shown up ever since. My fragile ego is in pain, even though it should be relieved.

6:08 AM  

Actually, you're a bit off. I absolutely did not see the signs. I was totally naive, about myself and what I was vulnerable to. Not self aware at all, as I am AFTER the fact. I simply felt empathy and wanted to help this person, and it spiraled from there. I've since learned WHY I would be so susceptible and even want to "help" this person in the first place.

And no, actually, I don't treat people like crap. Not those who have wronged me, even. I don't ever try to hurt anyone. And that is a problem I have too. Ill let them hurt me, and then I'll blame myself for it, justify why it must have been my fault. So I'll try to ease their pain iinstead of my own. I have my own core issues. But that doesn't make it okay that I was treated so badly. What I allow doesn't take responsibility for someone else being hurtful and careless and manipulative. I loved this person. I did see beneath the bpd at points. But ultimately, this person has hurt me more than anyone ever has, but I suppose he's helped me too, because I'm aware of it all now.

9:17 PM  

It was sad to read all these comments. I suffer from BPD and have isolated myself from relationships for years now. No, I do not physically abuse or manipulate but yes, there have been few times that I have been outrageous mostly shouting under the fear of abandonment or criticism. It was only after that I was able to realise what I had done.
This blog has many posts on emotional abuse, the cause of my bpd and it was the reason I first visited this blog.
I don't get it; almost everyone who wrote here has been abused here one way or another, so the bpd's. Some were more strong or lucky (call it whatever you want) than others and didn't develop disorders while other people did not have the appropriate strength or inner resources to deal with their problems which turned into mental illnesses.

3:52 PM  

Well stated.

4:35 AM  

I deeply feel the bpd is a willful behaviour. Sickness can be tteated or the victim is willing to rise about their affliction. I had counselling for dealing with the stress of having a mother with bpd. Basically it is best to wallk away from nastiness and evil. My counsellour seemed to project the idea that this disorder is a willful act of rage nastiness and sadism etc.

4:43 AM  

Run man RUN!!!!!!!

7:57 PM  

BPDs I don't feel bad for you. You have a choice. We all do. Always. You either face your fears and issues, accept them and deal with them, or your take in on others. I am one of those who have been someone's punching bag for way too long and I am now trying to keep the court system from destroying everything I have tried to build and move on with my life.
BPDs don't want to move on, they want to keep their punching bag

7:23 PM  

Wrong. What the bpd is feeling is not the want of a punching bag. What she is feeling is a conflicting and contradictory impulse to both want/need you and distrust/push you away. She does not know herself why she feels that way. Me, nowadays I just leave when I feel that way. I've learned to enjoy being alone and I recognize the core issue to be a lack of trust. But to think that we want "punching bags" is incorrect and not our reasoning.

8:24 PM  

While I feel for those who have been hurt by those with BPD (I am assuming they have an official diagnosis) there is an impossible situation happening for both the abused and the abusers. BPD is closely associated with PTSD in that there is an emotional trigger that causes a lower brain, limbic (psychiatrists call it the reptilian or primordial survival mechanism) function to take over. This totally bypasses the higher reasoning functions of the brain. The BPD individual now goes into a defense mode based on an external, most often innocent, emotional trigger, and is sent reeling through an internal trauma. To the observer, this looks like insanity, and it truly is because there is no rational explanation why they should be blowing up. When the abused tries to make a rational connection between what they think they did to trigger their loved one, that is when they fall into the trap. This is the insidious nature of BPD. It is important to understand that it is not confusing to the BPD why they are blowing up. They are feeling something terrible for which they have never developed a coping mechanism. The causes of this are usually childhood trauma and/or abandonment. In an adult this trauma and abandonment has formed their very personality. It is easier for people suffering from depression because they know and can see their depression. The Borderling has no such indication. They are simply being who their experiences have shaped them to be. It is extremely humiliating to be in that position. It is so much more than simply getting help and taking responsibility for their actions. It is coping with an extremely intense emotional turmoil. This requires support from loved ones and professionals. Unfortunately for the BPD, their actions drive their supports away. Hence the impossible situation.

9:16 AM  

I have just spent 9 years of my life with a bpd male and it has ruined my life. He moved me 120 miles to live with him whilst having numerous affairs ,sex addiction and gay sex also. He put me through hell and then promptly dumped me for a new toy! I am alone here,devastated with no family or friends around me,whilst he has moved back in with his enabling mother. I wish I could put the clock back. I'm in despair. Are they cruel? YES Are they cunning YES, They know when to act angelic and that to me is calculated.

3:09 PM  

I have been in a relationship with what I believe to be a BPD male for almost 5 years. He is verbally abusive, has thrown me to the ground before and put his hands around my neck, and has changed how I feel about myself. Yet I'm still in relationship b/c he says he's going to get help. He does not have a cheating history except on me. He has made me feel worthless and like this is what I deserve. He calls me names and doing anything with him becomes very stressful b/c the littlest things make him very angry. I did move out after he went to see a coworker and take her on a date while we were living together. I'm still living the hell but thankfully I have my own place to go home to. I don't know why I stay. Part of me feels like I deserve this treatment b/c If someone you loves and says they love you says these things about you they must be true. Any advice would be appreciated

7:47 PM  

Borderline Personality Disorder is the most difficult to understand and diagnose mental illnesses. As a consequence there is little awareness of its existence in the general public. If there were greater awareness, more resources would be brought to the table to help these people. I believe the biggest problem is its name. "Borderline" means nothing in helping us understand the condition. I have proposed that we change the name to Faultfinding Personality Disorder based on the most important diagnostic criterion - chronic finding of fault with themselves and others due to their black-and-white thinking which leads to disturbed interpersonal relationships. To back this up I wrote the book "Faultfinders: The impact of borderline personality disorder." I explained the condition using examples of numerous famous people to make the symptoms memorable. I would be interested to hear what others think about a possible name change.

1:48 PM  

Wonderful idea! I think it would help BPDS realize what they are doing. Borderline excuses the behavior but fault finders I don't think anyone would want that diagnosis. My true belief is that fault finders have trouble accepting responsibility for who they are and why they act out. Enabling them doesn't help either and that could be a friend a parent or family.

11:13 PM  

People without any illness can cheat and be just as cruel. Everyone who has so much hate against BPD sufferers, must just find it easier to blame the diagnosis than accept that anyone can be cruel without any illness.

1:45 AM  

BPD people know what they are doing. They are not to be pitied or made excuses for. Its basically a fancy new age name for the scum of the earth. Avoid these losers like the plague and stop defending or trying to justify their inexcusable behaviour. The male and female form of these people are as bad as each other.

Best wishes and a speedy recovery to all the true victims of these abusive assholes.

1:06 AM  

Your statement is so true, i hope that one day successfull treatment of this disorder is found and applied to victims of bpd.
MAPS foundation is doing great research and therapy with MDMA on persons with PTSD some are rape trauma. (although people with bpd are currently not being accepted in the research) i wish they were.
Healing is important for all of us

9:30 AM  

Someone of you that feel you been so hurt by a BPD. I think it's more that you need to research narcissist,psychopath and sociopath because it seems that you are referring to that diagnoses rather than a BPD.

3:06 PM  

Yessss run fast run far!

6:57 PM  

Agree w/ non-BPDers cuz no excuse for their behaviors and they KNOW what they r doing to us and others. Again THEY KNOW, so screw them all!!!

10:05 AM  

Wow, this are the best inputs and feedbacks I have EVER read after reading alot about this BPD! My ex gf told me at the beginning of our 2 year time together and I didnt take it seriously at first, but as time went by, I kept wondering and getting hurt over and over from her lies and cheating and after our break up, BAM I woke up after remembering her telling me about her having a borderline personalty and read all about it. All i can say in two words are 'Wow! Unbelievable!' Enough said and helped! To those nonBPDers, thank you so much and love you all and wish u all speedy recocery and exit from this dreadful world of BPDers!

10:35 AM  

Yes, not only run as far as u can, but as fast as possible- not worth your time!

10:57 AM  

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