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 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/519hcVHPLzL._SL125_.jpg) Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist by Margalis Fjelstad

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"Stop Caretaking The Borderline or Narcissist" by Margalis Fjelstand, PhD

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OpenHeart

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It's pretty overwhelming to think about it all at one time.  I began by working on myself in the sense that I had lost track of who I was.  I didn't know my likes or dislikes anymore.  it was all about what dxNPDh liked or disliked.  A big victory for me was when I was preparing for a major vacation (the first in over 10 years) and I wanted a travel journal.  H likes all things Tokien or of that style.  I like other things.  He was with me when I picked out my journal.  I picked out one I liked after careful consideration.  He then said "oh, here is a Tolkien cover" and I almost reached for it instead.  Then I said, "oh, that would be nice for you but I'm buying this one".  He was surprised and I am sure miffed. 

Anyway, start with something small.  Maybe make a list of things you would like to change (focus on yourself).  Prioritize them in some way.  One of my goals was to rebuild my social life and support system.  I broke that into many steps.  It is over a year later and I have two new friends and reestablished with a couple of others.  Last night I started an art class (a very basic "no talent" class - it is actually in the course name, lol).  I'm just taken it for fun for myself.  I met a couple of ladies there who were friendly.  The class goes 7 weeks.  Maybe I will make another friend or two.  Or just a couple of "class" friends.  This was unthinkable last summer.

Good luck!
I'm always disappointed when a liar's pants don't actually catch on fire.

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BITCH - BABE In Total Control of Herself

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looloo

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OpenHeart, that is wonderful!  I have been saying to myself for years now how I "need" to get a social life again, and haven't done much about it at all.  My love of solitude keeps growing, lol.  But you have inspired me to begin again.
“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.”  Oscar Wilde.

"My actions are my true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand."  Thich Nhat Hanh

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ChristinaK

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For those people who are living with someone who has some form of mental illness such as OCPD, Borderline Personality Disorder of Narcissistic Personality Disorder - I would like to strongly recommend the book I have been reading:

'Stop Caretaking The Borderline or Narcissist, How to end the Drama and get on with your life', by Margalis Fjelstad.

There were revelations for me on every page of this book but most settling for me was the knowledge that I was not a 'codependent'. I had explored this notion for a good year recently trying to find answers to the ongoing drama of the marriage and my upset feelings. Fjelstad explains that because people with a personality disorder make such a profound impact on their family members, the family itself cannot keep functioning without someone taking the Caretaker role. This is exactly what happened and Fjelstad gives straightforward knowledge about the situation and advice as to how to make it much better.

She writes, 'Your hope for a better relationship needs to be transferred from trying to heal the the BP/NP to your own healing.' She provides strategies to make communication and functioning much better. For example, she writes, 'Do not discuss any uproar situation afterward...ask yourself whether you ever successfully talked things through with the BP/NP and had anything really change...Remember that the BP/NP really relates only to actions in the present moment and if the present moment is going well, keep it that way." In large, Fjelstad focuses on the Caretaker having self-responsibility, getting control of emotional reactions and ineffective responses to the crazy-making actions of the BP/Np in "different, more honest and realistic ways."

This book has been a great deal of help to me and I have already noticed a sense of calm in myself which seems to have also had an impact on my husband. I am working on the basis here that OCPD is a specific set of behaviors (e.g owning the truth and being perfectionist/procrastinating) but that there are elements of other conditions as well in some cases (e.g. my husband has OCPD characteristics but also can be highly emotional. In bringing up a family the caretaker role is one I assumed in an effort to ensure the children grew up whole.)

What I realized in reading the book was that I have been extremely creative in trying to find answers to my married life but that any creativity on my part was only a temporary fix for a ongoing personality disorder. It's Fjelstad's brutal honesty which is the compelling aspect of her writing style. The Caretaker has no choice but to stand up and pay close attention.

I'd love to discuss the material of the book if anyone here has read it.

« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 06:19:44 PM by ChristinaK »

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Latchkey

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Hi ChristinaK,

I am going to move this to our Book Review section if that is ok where you can see others responses to the book and hopefully get more of a conversation going. This is a great book!!

Latchkey
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 09:55:02 AM by Latchkey »
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
-Mother Jones
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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
-Maya Angelou
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When we have the courage to do what we need to do, we unleash mighty forces that come to our aid.

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ChristinaK

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Thank you very much. I didn't know there was an area for books. That's great.

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Latchkey

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We moved it! Looks like you've found the book reviews!
Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
-Mother Jones
-
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
-Maya Angelou
-
When we have the courage to do what we need to do, we unleash mighty forces that come to our aid.

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SonofThunder

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Read this book last year. Re-read parts all the time.  Very helpful in understanding my uNPDw and father and assisting me along with the book, Boundaries. 
Proverbs 21:9 
Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack than share a mansion with a nagging spouse.

Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

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openskyblue

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Periodically, I go back and read this book. Every time I do I learn something new or have a new light bulb moment. I think that most valuable aspect of the book for me was the author's absolutely clear and unapologetic message to the caretaker: 1)You can't change someone with a PD; 2) Your first responsibility is to protect yourself and your kids; and 3) There will very likely come a time when you will have to leave your marriage to the PD in order to save your own life -- and when that time comes, get out.


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sparrow

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Wow open sky, I'm going to have to read that. I did leave my marriage to bpdh when it came to it. I'm struggling right now with fresh guilt, in behavioral health being taught to have empathy for patients and to not participate in stigmas and encourage family involvement because many mentally ill patients are "abandoned". Eesh.

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ChristinaK

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I happened across Fjelstand's book by chance perhaps a year after reading Ross Rosenberg and Pia Mellody. Through Rosenberg I understood the process of 'dancing with the narcissist' and my initial attraction to the dance, but I didn't know how to get through the process he outlined in  broad brush strokes in the book. Through Mellody I understood that my problem in some way related to a lack of self-love and self-confidence, and that my childhood where my parents were perpetually involved in their work and their own relationship put me at risk, but the banner of 'codependent' never quite rang true. For instance, I had no dependence on drugs, alcohol or tobacco and never had had such a dependence. In nearly all other ways other than the relationship with what I came to understand was a person with a mental condition I was functioning well. I had come to see that I was an empath, very clued into other people and that I was a deeply loyal and hard working person who tended towards self-sacrificing to my own detriment. But,  it wasn't until I got a few pages into Fjelstand's book that it became apparent that at last the author was talking directly to me.

This book turned my life around in a matter of weeks. I learned the following:

- that I married someone long ago who is impaired with a PD; a good person and a loyal person, but someone whose condition has made life very bumpy and made him very sensitive; that any given day can be an emotional one based on events and how this makes him feel.

- that it had obviously seemed to me, unwittingly, that I had no choice but to take on the Caretaker role. "This collusion to make the BP/NP and the family look normal and function as a unit is the job of the Caretaker."

- that I needed to be aware of my own thoughts, needs and beliefs in order to maintain a separate sense of myself (I've worked hard on this for a few years through a meditative practice.)

-that at the same time as I was kind and considerate I needed to set boundaries; that I had been operating under a mix of dysfunctional and distorted emotions, thoughts and behaviors.

Here is what I have noticed since reading and re-reading the book.

- I am not afraid of anger. I don't provoke anger but no-one can prevent a statement not well thought through in every moment. When anger is expressed I am able to walk away from that upset, or to stop the interaction without dwelling on it and analyzing it. It happened. The emotion will peter out. No need to address it or ask for an apology or determine fault. Just move on.

- I seem to be able to foresee potential issues. I am more inclined to say what I would like to have happen, to do things myself, to act myself without needing a blessing, to ask for something, to give space to him and to myself, to seek and receive intimacy, to not be hurt when he is self-involved, to stay in the moment and to recognize that he must stay in the moment, to plan; to accept the reality of the condition and the limitations of that situation. In this way life got smoother and my own internal life settled.

-In essence, I have given up expecting things from him which he is not capable of giving or doing. He can be a wonderful husband but consistency is not possible, nor, apart from holidays and vacations, is it possible to lead an unemotional life. The day, or the hour, is likely to have considerable ups and downs as his emotions govern him. I don't internally fight this. I still massage life but I don't feel shattered when it isn't as I would like it to be.

- What I realized I have done for nearly a decade is to be fully immersed in his life and the repercussions of his decisions at the same time as I neglected to focus on myself and my own ambitions. The book enabled me to see that my life was out of balance, that I had in fact taken on the full time role of Caretaker and I needed to back off from the responsibility I had put on my own shoulders and learn to live lighter; carry less weight.

If you have been in the Caretaker role for decades it isn't easily changed. I searched for years for material and in the process of that found myself making friends with a person who I eventually came to see had NPD. It felt like the person had come into my life to teach me lessons and that I needed to go to the darkest of places before I could reach the light. No one book is likely to turn on the light entirely, that's more of a process...but if you only read one book, I would definitely recommend you read this one.






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OpenHeart

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Ditto to everything you have said.  I didn't really identify as codependent although dxnpd was an addict for  several years until successfully went through his second treatment.   Unfortunately,  at least back then,  treatment programs were an ideal place to practice and perfect his MPS characteristics while it victimized our family.   This book was an eye opener for me and gave me tools to take back my life.  I, too, recommend it for anyone who is or was involved with a person with suspected or confirmed BPD or NPD.
I'm always disappointed when a liar's pants don't actually catch on fire.

WITCH - Woman In Total Control of Herself
BITCH - BABE In Total Control of Herself