Friend with borderline personality disorder

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Dr. Pepper

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Friend with borderline personality disorder
« on: May 02, 2016, 12:45:20 AM »
Hello,

So my best friend, has borderline personality disorder. I met her in my social sciences class and was struck by the amount of things we have in common. I am a solitary person with an extremely limited amount of people I could call friends over the years, and almost non of them were close, so when she told me she considered me her best friend, I thought it was rather quick, but went with it.

The nature of her disorder was revealed to me in degrees. First I thought she was depressed, then I suspected I she might be suicidal, then I knew she was suicidal, then I found out she is chronically suicidal. Then there's the other traits like extreme mood swings, extreme clinginess, and obsessive behaviour towards me.

I'll slow down and deal with things one at a time. First, the fact that she's chronically suicidal. It still floors me that this is a condition that actually exists. The way I've always thought of suicide is that a person is going through a really rough time, they see no point in living, and they make an attempt. If the attempt is not successful, they maybe reevaluate and with therapy and the changing of circumstances, they no longer feel like life is pointless. Not so here. She isn't going through "a rough time". This is her lifestyle. Every day, every night. Heck, any time she's alone, she gets suicidal thoughts. It just boggles my mind. I mean, we talk about something "pushing someone over the edge" when they make a suicide attempt. But that rings hollow in this situation. She's always over the edge or maybe there just isn't an edge. I don't get how someone can try to kill themselves multiple times (she's had 11 attempts!), and not get any change of perspective. It's almost like, "Well it didn't work today, try again some other time." Her callousness towards her own life unsettles and honestly often angers me, not that I show my anger. So where does this leave me? In a near constant state of worry unless she's with me. Again, it just throws everything I thought I knew about suicide in the trashcan. I have always been told that if someone is suicidal, take their threats seriously, don't leave them alone etc., but what do you do when it isn't a crisis but a lifestyle? Following the conventional method for dealing with suicidal thoughts would lead to near constant supervision. Is that my obligation?

Next, is the extreme mood swings. Honestly, these don't bother me that much. She can act in ways that make me angry, but I've heard far, far worse stories in that regard with this disorder.

The extreme clinginess... oh, brother. I mentioned we had a lot in common and we do, but we definitely have some very big personality differences. I am an extreme introvert. I'm not only comfortable with solitude, I require a certain amount of it to be happy. I love going "off the grid" for hours at a time and just being alone. She can't be alone. When I gave her my number, she completely swamped me with texts. I told her that I would prefer communicating via Skype unless she was in "crisis" (a crisis worse than her everyday life). She agreed to it thankfully, but I still feel obligated to Skype with her when I know she's alone. If it was up to her, she would be stuck to my side every waking moment of the day. She'll Skype for hours. She told me she was an introvert when I first met her, but I'm starting to seriously doubt that. She never needs alone time and will stay with me hours after I have reached my social fill. I like her company, but the clinginess sometimes makes me dread seeing her. Yet not being with her is worse because who knows what she could be up to?

And finally, the obsessive behaviour. She adores me. There was a time when I seriously considered being her romantic partner (this was before I was aware of some of the symptoms). The dilemma was that I thought I found someone "perfect for me" (again, lots in common as far as interests and with quirks, but many of the more suffocating ones were not yet revealed to me), but who I wasn't physically attracted to. I impulsively decided to give it a try and let her know about my decision. I later backtracked, thinking it a mistake (and now knowing it was a mistake), and also let her know that. We were at a summer retreat during all this and my second revelation devastated her by the look of it and I still feel awful about it - though also don't regret it. However, to this day, the way she talks to and about me, seem like lover's talk to me and it makes me really uncomfortable. There's nothing sexual, but just the way she showers me with compliments, worships the ground I walk on etc. I've once heard that friends focus on things and lovers focus on each other. I, as her friend, would like to talk about the stuff we are interested in, but she seems to steer the conversation to me, wanting to know things about me. The whole thing makes me uncomfortable. And sometimes, well often, she stays the night because of the perils of the sleeping alone and because she will never leave unless she has to (school, work etc.). We sleep on separate couches, but in the same room. It makes me really uncomfortable.

My dream was to fall in love and start a family. That's all I really wanted out of life. Now that I have this dependent friendship, the odds of that now happening are starting to look very unlikely. I don't think many women would put up with this, and I don't blame them. It would take a saint or a fool. It makes me really sad. I've even started showing some signs of depression (I was depressed a few years ago, then managed to climb out, and now this whole situation is bringing those feelings back).

So I don't know what to do. I feel completely trapped. I feel like there are basically three outcomes: 1) I abandon her because I decide I can no longer put up with it, 2) I endure it, as I feel it is my duty as a friend and frankly the right thing to do, or 3) Tragedy occurs. I don't know which scenario is the least horrible. Either way, I feel like I'm in for one hell of a ride. :(

I could go on forever, but I'll stop here for now.

EDIT: Just one thing to clarify. I was extremely negative in my post. At this point I think the negative impact she has had on my life far exceeds the positive, but know that there is positive. She is my best friend. When we decided to be best friends the feeling was mutual. Things have gotten so muddled that I don't know what to think anymore, but she didn't start out as my charity case at all. She was just someone I enjoyed hanging out with and talking to and we became friends before any of the weird stuff happened or was revealed to me.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 02:02:24 AM by Bloomie »

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Bloomie

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2016, 02:15:49 AM »
Hi DP. I can see you are new here and want to welcome you. The circumstances of your friendship with this troubled soul sounds very complex and difficult. I am glad you are here. I believe you will benefit so much from this community and engaging here. This is just a quick hello and welcome, and I will be back to share more, but in the meantime take a look through the resource tabs above. There is so much here for you.

I imagine you feel pretty overwhelmed by the level of issues and need this friend has, and your care and concern for her are evident and to be commended. Others will be along to weigh in as well, but one simple thing I want to share with you right off is the 3 C's Rule which says: I didn't cause it, I can't cure it, and I can't control it. (click on the blue underlined text for more info.)

Again, so glad you have joined us. 

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practical

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2016, 09:17:23 AM »
Hi DP, I wanted to add my welcome.

You are in a complex situation (I read your other thread), and I understand you don't want to abandon your friend, at the same time please also keep in mind that you have to look after yourself, mental and physical. Is your friend in treatment or has ever been? I used to be a support for bipolar uNPDm, and it made me very ill over time, without actually helping her, as she truly needed professional help. (She was officially in treatment but was not treatment compliant and lied to her doctors, so the burden fell back on her family.) Recognizing and respecting your own limits is very important.

I don't know how much you know about BPD, it might help you to understand your situation better to read about it. There is a lot of excellent information contained in the Disorders   . Especially the traits might be helpful (click on the titles to get more info about them). Another section that might help you learn how to deal with this situation is the Toolbox     .

As for her suicidal thoughts, not leaving her alone is certainly a good start, but you are also supposed to call 911 so she can get professional help. Here is some information for  In an Emergency

Please make sure you don't fall into the trap of Rescuer or Fix-it Syndrome (check Glossary   for explanations).

I understand there are also positive sides, nothing is all black and white, the question is can you deal with both, and in the end it doesn't seem so, as you are showing signs of depression you wrote. The demand on your physical presence, your emotional energy, seems enormous, and it seems not to change for the better. Whatever you do, does only seem to lead to a momentary improvement of the current crises.

I guess what I'm trying to impress on you is that your friend needs professional help and while you are doing your best, in the end you can not truly help her. What you are doing is like trying to fill a hole that has no bottom. She has to seek out help and work to change her own situation, and while you can suggest it, you can not do the work for her.

I'm sorry you are finding yourself in this situation. Please don't forget while you feel a responsibility to your friend, you also have one to yourself, your own life.
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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Bloomie

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2016, 01:00:58 PM »
DP - you say this:
Quote
My dream was to fall in love and start a family. That's all I really wanted out of life. Now that I have this dependent friendship, the odds of that now happening are starting to look very unlikely. I don't think many women would put up with this, and I don't blame them. It would take a saint or a fool. It makes me really sad. I've even started showing some signs of depression (I was depressed a few years ago, then managed to climb out, and now this whole situation is bringing those feelings back).


When we find ourselves giving emotional and physical support to another person at the expense of our own emotional health, wellbeing, and dreams, that is a sign to examine how we think about what the healthy role of a friend looks like.

I recognize the tendency and strong drive to help and be responsible for another who is suffering and struggling and who's very life seems to be teetering on the brink of disaster. What I have had to do to get to a place of healthy autonomy in a similar relationship with a friend who seemingly could only count on me, who had serious mental health issues far above my pay grade and abilities to help her with, and who was in crisis 24/7 is begin to define limits and boundaries in the relationship.

This friend also clung and needed to a degree I was spent and preoccupied much of the time. She was relentless and an endless chasm of need. She also was funny, and lovely, and interesting. Everyone is multifaceted. What I found in time, was nothing I did - no help I offered, no services I connected her with, nothing seemed to penetrate or make the slightest bit of difference or move her closer to getting the help she needed to get well.

Things got so bad - distress calls at all hours, histrionic displays of emotion, never ending issues and acting out - that I finally began to set some important boundaries around my family time and resources. What I found is that simply setting small, significant limits on when she could call me, for example, were received as cruel and discarding of her. 

What I learned is that this friend was one of the most covertly controlling and manipulating people I have ever known. She controlled and manipulated through need, weakness, and great drama which resulted in a constant monopolizing of my time and manipulating my emotions and love for her.

I could not change her or fix her or rescue her or ensure she made good choices by laying aside my dreams and giving over my life to someone who wasn't seeking help and hope for herself. All of the time and energy, worry and sacrifice I offered with a sincere and loving heart, meant absolutely nothing to this person in the end and the way I discovered that was as soon as I set a small boundary I have described to you, it set in motion a series of events that led to her discarding me and moving on to others.

I learned a lot from this experience and it led me to examine my lack of Boundaries and begin to ask myself why I would allow myself to be put in such an untenable position. That led me to begin important work in the area of CoDependency and recovery from a early life of having been groomed by my parents to have a susceptibility to the fix it syndrome and toward rescuer tendencies.

In my situation, this friend quickly, and dramatically, moved on to others when I began to have some healthy perspective and refocused on my own life dreams and needs as is appropriate and what healthy people do. To have a "relationship" with her was to engage on her terms and allow her full access to my life and resources all the time, every day. The focus of the relationship was to be her and her issues and needs. What started out as a fun friendship ended up as a full time, all-consuming care taking responsibility where there was no room for anything but her. She carefully manipulated things until she was literally taking up all of the oxygen in the room every single day and every single encounter. It was exhausting.

I had to learn that giving myself over to a unstable, emotionally ravenous person was not love. I thought I was helping and loving her - literally saving her life and I was actually making things worse. I found through Codependency recovery that what I was really doing was enabling her to stay stuck and repeat dangerous and unhealthy behaviors over and over again.

As you spend time here my hope for you is that you will gain clarity and tools with which to make decisions going forward in this relationship. I understand how compelling and attractive such a friend can be and the confusion that comes from being close to someone who is always on the brink of disaster - or so it seems. I also would suggest finding a therapist to talk this through with face to face.  I found that to be another important spoke in the wheel to healthier thinking and interacting with others. I look forward to supporting you as you spend time here. I'm glad you have made you way to OOTF!



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hhaw

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2016, 01:35:30 PM »
Hi DP:

What came up for me as I read your OP was.....

you seem to be suffering from FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) in this relationship where your "friend" has obligated you to honor a contract to be best friends?  Is that about right?

I don't believe healthy friendships are premised on one party obligating the other to a make believe contract that doesn't, and shouldn't exist.

Relationship are negotiated all the time.  Marriages, friends, acquaintances all negotiate terms, IME.

You have the right to negotiate as well.  If something's not working, you should speak your mind, be heard, and work something else out.

IF you feel that bringing your needs up will escalate suicide threats, and bring unbearable consequences down on your head I suggest you consider ending that "friendship."  Not just bc it's one sided, but bc you have work to do, necessary work, on boundaries that can't be done with this friend in your life.

Honestly, this gal sounds like she's not a safe individual to practice new found boundary skills on.  Her use of suicide, to control you, would be the place I had to draw the line, IME.

You didn't marry her.  You aren't obligated to be her life partner, best friend, or nighty night partner..... honestly, all your feelings are valid around this.

Now, why is it that you feel her feelings are more important than your own?  What makes it so hard to put yourself, your needs, and your health on the list with at least the same importance as this best friend?

hhaw
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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Dr. Pepper

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2016, 04:28:13 PM »
Thank you for your responses and links to resources everyone. I'll address some of the points that stuck out to me.

Quote from: practical
Is your friend in treatment or has ever been? [...] As for her suicidal thoughts, not leaving her alone is certainly a good start, but you are also supposed to call 911 so she can get professional help.
A few months into our friendship when I started noticing the suicidal tendencies (though I wasn't aware of it being chronic; I just though she was going through a rough time), I did call 911. She was hospitalized for about a month and then discharged. I believe there was some resources, therapy options etc. that the hospital gave to her. She's very vague and contradictory about it in terms of whether there's a waiting list or not, what type of therapy it is, how often it will be etc. All I can say is that I think there will be therapy in the future. For now she's about to do a day therapy that is just general i.e. not specific to BPD.

Thing is, if I was to call 911 every time she had suicidal urges, I would be calling every night. No joke.

Quote from: practicaI
guess what I'm trying to impress on you is that your friend needs professional help and while you are doing your best, in the end you can not truly help her. What you are doing is like trying to fill a hole that has no bottom. She has to seek out help and work to change her own situation, and while you can suggest it, you can not do the work for her.
I am very aware that I can't "fix" her. And honestly, I don't go around looking for broken people to fix. I would be perfectly happy living with mentally healthy people. More than happy - at this point, I would be thrilled.

That said, there is this sense that if I don't watch her, she will kill herself. It hasn't been about fixing her so much as it has been about keeping her alive so that she can find healing.

Quote from: hhaw
Now, why is it that you feel her feelings are more important than your own?  What makes it so hard to put yourself, your needs, and your health on the list with at least the same importance as this best friend?
I'll be honest. It has been because I admire selflessness and self-sacrifice. I know that, given the situation, many will think I have this hero complex where I have a need to fix or save other people, but it simply isn't true. Before this whole debacle, I actually did take good care of myself and had no time for other people's drama. My friend "suckered me in" (I used quotations because whether it was intentional or not is anyone's guess) by being at first a cool person that I wanted to be friends with, and then slowly and gradually she revealed more and more of her issues until I entered my current situation. I did not become friends with her because I wanted to fix her. I wanted to be friends with her because we have very similar interests and at that point I really enjoyed talking with her, simple as that.

But anyway back to why I placed her needs above mine. I believe that, if it's a choice between doing the right thing and suffering harm, you should do the right thing. If you only do the right thing if it's beneficial, pleasing, or at least innocuous to you, then morality becomes simply survival instinct. It's when doing the right can hurt you that you are truly tested. Those are concepts I agreed to well before I met my friend and had any way of applying it.

And frankly knowing that she goes through so much hell and that the causes of this disorder stem back to childhood and things beyond her control. That mixed with the awful way people have treated her truly breaks my heart (and my heart is not easily reached).

Quote from: Bloomie
All of the time and energy, worry and sacrifice I offered with a sincere and loving heart, meant absolutely nothing to this person in the end and the way I discovered that was as soon as I set a small boundary I have described to you, it set in motion a series of events that led to her discarding me and moving on to others.
I wanted to address this last because it is most relevant to my current situation. Last night, I think I reached my breaking point. Last night she told me that she was having a medical episode that is dangerous and potentially fatal. I stayed up until 3 am, asking/pleading her to go the hospital. At 3 am she still wouldn't go, so I went to bed. I was and am angry about this. All the help and support I've given her and she won't just go to the hospital and instead subjects me to this emotional torture. I'm done. Next time I see her, I am telling her that she either starts trying harder or this friendship is over. That's my condition. As long as she's actively trying to get better, I will support her. But if she's going to continue to put me through this and still be so utterly callous about her life, then I don't see any point in continuing. Maybe by setting this boundary, she will disown me like in your scenario. I say, if that happens, so be it. Now I just need to figure out how the heck, I'm going to word it as she can't take the slightest criticism without being devastated. :blink:

Quote from: Bloomie
I had to learn that giving myself over to a unstable, emotionally ravenous person was not love. I thought I was helping and loving her - literally saving her life and I was actually making things worse. I found through Codependency recovery that what I was really doing was enabling her to stay stuck and repeat dangerous and unhealthy behaviors over and over again.
This is very true.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 04:51:38 PM by Dr. Pepper »

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VividImagination

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2016, 07:57:34 PM »
Have you considered that this medical episode, along with the constant suicide threats, are a way to keep your attention? This can certainly be the case if she has romantic feelings for you. I'm not a professional and do not mean to be callous, but I would think most people who are truly suicidal don't make eleven "attempts".
There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it, or leave it. If you cannot accept it, change it. I f you cannot change it, leave it.

Sometimes you're damned if you don't and damned if you do, so damn well do what's best for you.

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DaisyGirl77

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2016, 08:03:44 PM »
Quote from: hhaw
Now, why is it that you feel her feelings are more important than your own?  What makes it so hard to put yourself, your needs, and your health on the list with at least the same importance as this best friend?
I'll be honest. It has been because I admire selflessness and self-sacrifice. I know that, given the situation, many will think I have this hero complex where I have a need to fix or save other people, but it simply isn't true. Before this whole debacle, I actually did take good care of myself and had no time for other people's drama. My friend "suckered me in" (I used quotations because whether it was intentional or not is anyone's guess) by being at first a cool person that I wanted to be friends with, and then slowly and gradually she revealed more and more of her issues until I entered my current situation. I did not become friends with her because I wanted to fix her. I wanted to be friends with her because we have very similar interests and at that point I really enjoyed talking with her, simple as that.

But anyway back to why I placed her needs above mine. I believe that, if it's a choice between doing the right thing and suffering harm, you should do the right thing. If you only do the right thing if it's beneficial, pleasing, or at least innocuous to you, then morality becomes simply survival instinct. It's when doing the right can hurt you that you are truly tested. Those are concepts I agreed to well before I met my friend and had any way of applying it.

And frankly knowing that she goes through so much hell and that the causes of this disorder stem back to childhood and things beyond her control. That mixed with the awful way people have treated her truly breaks my heart (and my heart is not easily reached).

Regarding the bolded:  My concern with your logic here is that you sound like you are prepared to lay down your life for this woman.  This "friend" (& she is absolutely no friend to you) has you thinking that if you did more of X or Y or the entire alphabet soup that she'll be 100% healed, & it'll all be because of you.

Now, I know that you have very clearly stated that you didn't walk into this friendship with this woman carting around a hero complex, but this is how it's sounding, in a way.  The very simplest, basic fact is that there comes a point where you just have to walk away.  This woman is a black hole of need.  As with all black holes, there is, scientifically speaking, no end to the depths of their need.  They will never be "full".  Their lid will never close.  They are a giant, gaping maw of loneliness, need, and isolation that NO ONE PERSON can ever fill.  She has appointed YOU her savior.  YOU, according to her logic, are her police.  YOU are responsible for preventing her from doing everything self-destructive she wants to do.  You CANNOT continue to be her police.  It is NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to do this.  It is NOT YOUR JOB.  It is HERS, & hers alone to police herself.

Additionally, if you are at the point where you think you can't do XYZ because this woman needs you, you are in danger zone.  You CANNOT, & SHOULD NOT, ever feel like you need to sacrifice your own goals, hopes, & dreams for someone who will not offer you better goals, hopes, & dreams.  Sending YOUR OWN LIFE into ashes to "save" someone who cannot be saved (by you) is not an emotionally (mentally/physically/spiritually) healthy choice.  She will NEVER be able to return the favor by saving you from ruin.

Quote from: Bloomie
All of the time and energy, worry and sacrifice I offered with a sincere and loving heart, meant absolutely nothing to this person in the end and the way I discovered that was as soon as I set a small boundary I have described to you, it set in motion a series of events that led to her discarding me and moving on to others.
I wanted to address this last because it is most relevant to my current situation. Last night, I think I reached my breaking point. Last night she told me that she was having a medical episode that is dangerous and potentially fatal. I stayed up until 3 am, asking/pleading her to go the hospital. At 3 am she still wouldn't go, so I went to bed. I was and am angry about this. All the help and support I've given her and she won't just go to the hospital and instead subjects me to this emotional torture. I'm done. Next time I see her, I am telling her that she either starts trying harder or this friendship is over. That's my condition. As long as she's actively trying to get better, I will support her. But if she's going to continue to put me through this and still be so utterly callous about her life, then I don't see any point in continuing. Maybe by setting this boundary, she will disown me like in your scenario. I say, if that happens, so be it. Now I just need to figure out how the heck, I'm going to word it as she can't take the slightest criticism without being devastated. :blink:

Bolded:   :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause:  That is absolutely fantastic!  Fabulous news!

Story time:  Once upon a time, I had a friend.  This friend was romantically interested in me for years after our meeting, at ages 12 & 13.  Upon this first meeting, he immediately asked me out.  I said sure.  We lasted a week.  When I broke it off with him, he threatened to kill himself.  Of course, I begged & pleaded, & we remained together.  EVERY TIME I tried to break it off, he threatened suicide.  I was 12, & the thought of a boy killing himself over our breakup was too much for 12 year old me to handle.  My mother offered a solution:  Tell him that if he threatens to kill himself one more time, you're calling the police.  So I did.  He was shocked speechless.  "You wouldn't!"  I retorted, "Try me!"

By this time, we were extremely close friends.  He tried a few more times after that (in the weeks & months after I finally broke it off), & one day I really had it out with him.  I informed him that what he was doing was imposing his will upon me by emotionally manipulating me into "saving" him from himself, when he really had zero intention of suicide.  I told him he was so desperate for a girlfriend that he was willing to stay in a relationship where the girl felt trapped because if she left, the burden would be on her because he'd died.  I said that this behavior was considered abuse.  I told him that if he ever did it to me again, I was cutting off our friendship for good.  He would no longer have me in his life.  Before I slammed down the phone, I rammed the point home:  "Which would you rather have:  Me?  Or no life?"

It was the first time I'd truly gotten mad at him & it shocked him deeply.  He actually apologized for his manipulative & abusive behavior.

What I said to him at the time got through to him.  He never did it to me again, & he never did it to any of his other girlfriends.

I hope all this has given you food for thought.  Keep up setting the boundaries.  It's about time SHE does something productive for a change.  Your own head needs a break from all the banging (on a brick wall) you've been doing with it.
I lived with my dad's uPD mom for 3.5 years.  This is my story:  http://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=59780.0  (TW for abuse descriptions.)

"You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm." - Anonymous

NC with uNM since December 2016.  VLC with uPDF.

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hhaw

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2016, 08:53:22 PM »
Dr. Pepper:

Maybe this woman has you trauma bonded to her.  You sound afraid to make her feel a slight twinge of discomfort, and I'm guessing she wants you that way.

Also, if I didn't say it before...... all relationships go through periods of negotiation and flux.  We never have the same exact relationship, marriage, friends forever. Things are supposed to be negotiated.... think about the changes your friend brought into this relationship, and I do believe there was no negotiation involved. 
 
You may not see it now, but you can't save people from themselves.

You're morally obligated to save yourself as a priority.

Taking care of you is the most loving thing you can do for those around you.... it's your actual job.

When the discomfort of staying outweighs the discomfort of leaving, then you'll go?

Why does it have to come to that?  Why does it have to get messy, and chaotic and cost you days weeks or months of writhing in anticipatory agony over... over asking for some necessary change to save yourself?

Good luck,

hhaw


« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 08:34:48 PM by Bloomie »
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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practical

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2016, 08:43:59 PM »
Thank you for your responses and links to resources everyone. I'll address some of the points that stuck out to me.

Quote from: practical
Is your friend in treatment or has ever been? [...] As for her suicidal thoughts, not leaving her alone is certainly a good start, but you are also supposed to call 911 so she can get professional help.
A few months into our friendship when I started noticing the suicidal tendencies (though I wasn't aware of it being chronic; I just though she was going through a rough time), I did call 911. She was hospitalized for about a month and then discharged. I believe there was some resources, therapy options etc. that the hospital gave to her. She's very vague and contradictory about it in terms of whether there's a waiting list or not, what type of therapy it is, how often it will be etc. All I can say is that I think there will be therapy in the future. For now she's about to do a day therapy that is just general i.e. not specific to BPD.

Thing is, if I was to call 911 every time she had suicidal urges, I would be calling every night. No joke.

Quote from: practicaI
guess what I'm trying to impress on you is that your friend needs professional help and while you are doing your best, in the end you can not truly help her. What you are doing is like trying to fill a hole that has no bottom. She has to seek out help and work to change her own situation, and while you can suggest it, you can not do the work for her.
I am very aware that I can't "fix" her. And honestly, I don't go around looking for broken people to fix. I would be perfectly happy living with mentally healthy people. More than happy - at this point, I would be thrilled.

That said, there is this sense that if I don't watch her, she will kill herself. It hasn't been about fixing her so much as it has been about keeping her alive so that she can find healing.

I know you may have reached your breaking point and are starting to distance yourself, I just wanted to let you know anyway: Every time she threatens suicide, you have to call 911, and if it is three times a day. You can not be responsible for her suicidal thoughts and threats, a situation like that needs to be handled by professionals. I'm speaking from firsthand experience as somebody who has struggled with suicidal ideations. This is the only way she will get the help she needs. By not calling the police in a way you are keeping her away from treatment she needs, even if she does not see it this way. A suicidal person is not the best judge of their actions or decisions or situation. - If it turns out she uses the suicidal threats as a way to manipulate you, they will stop after you called to police one to many times for her liking.

As for her being vague about her treatment while in the hospital as well as to any future treatment set off very shrill warning  bells. My bipolar uNPDm never allowed her family to really know what was going on in her treatment. Yes, officially she was being treated for bipolar, realistically the doctors never met my mother, as she manipulated them, lied to them, and made absolutely sure nobody in the family was ever allowed to talk to her doctors and tell them the truth about how she was doing. There were a few times she ordered F or me to come to one of the doctors visits, each time this was to either blame us for her illness in some way or manipulate us and the doctors for her own purposes.

As a matter of fact during her depressive phases she would get suicidal, B and I could not prevail on F to call 911, and as it turns out, she never ever reported to her doctor her suicidal thoughts. We found this out after she was committed and we finally had a chance to talk to her doctor. I have really no idea whether she was suicidal or not, or whether it was part of manipulation, it actually doesn't matter, because I do know if F had called 911 a few times early on, she would have gotten proper help at a much younger age, instead of towards the end of her life, when there was nothing much the doctors could do for any more as her bipolar had basically become treatment resistant.

Quote from: Bloomie
All of the time and energy, worry and sacrifice I offered with a sincere and loving heart, meant absolutely nothing to this person in the end and the way I discovered that was as soon as I set a small boundary I have described to you, it set in motion a series of events that led to her discarding me and moving on to others.
I wanted to address this last because it is most relevant to my current situation. Last night, I think I reached my breaking point. Last night she told me that she was having a medical episode that is dangerous and potentially fatal. I stayed up until 3 am, asking/pleading her to go the hospital. At 3 am she still wouldn't go, so I went to bed. I was and am angry about this. All the help and support I've given her and she won't just go to the hospital and instead subjects me to this emotional torture. I'm done. Next time I see her, I am telling her that she either starts trying harder or this friendship is over. That's my condition. As long as she's actively trying to get better, I will support her. But if she's going to continue to put me through this and still be so utterly callous about her life, then I don't see any point in continuing. Maybe by setting this boundary, she will disown me like in your scenario. I say, if that happens, so be it. Now I just need to figure out how the heck, I'm going to word it as she can't take the slightest criticism without being devastated. :blink:
Actions speak louder than words. Her not going to the ER while creating drama, involving you in it, having you plead with her to do the rational, healthy thing, tells you a lot about your situation with your friend as you are realizing yourself.

Quote from: hhaw
Now, why is it that you feel her feelings are more important than your own?  What makes it so hard to put yourself, your needs, and your health on the list with at least the same importance as this best friend?
I'll be honest. It has been because I admire selflessness and self-sacrifice. I know that, given the situation, many will think I have this hero complex where I have a need to fix or save other people, but it simply isn't true. Before this whole debacle, I actually did take good care of myself and had no time for other people's drama. My friend "suckered me in" (I used quotations because whether it was intentional or not is anyone's guess) by being at first a cool person that I wanted to be friends with, and then slowly and gradually she revealed more and more of her issues until I entered my current situation. I did not become friends with her because I wanted to fix her. I wanted to be friends with her because we have very similar interests and at that point I really enjoyed talking with her, simple as that.

But anyway back to why I placed her needs above mine. I believe that, if it's a choice between doing the right thing and suffering harm, you should do the right thing. If you only do the right thing if it's beneficial, pleasing, or at least innocuous to you, then morality becomes simply survival instinct. It's when doing the right can hurt you that you are truly tested. Those are concepts I agreed to well before I met my friend and had any way of applying it.

And frankly knowing that she goes through so much hell and that the causes of this disorder stem back to childhood and things beyond her control. That mixed with the awful way people have treated her truly breaks my heart (and my heart is not easily reached).
Are you actually sure you are doing the right thing by continuing to enable her unhealthy behavior? Could it be that calling 911 is actually the harder thing to do, because she might blame you in some way for not being a good friend?

When you became her friend you only new about one part of the person, now you have to look at the full picture and decide whether she is still a friend to you, whether this is healthy to you. Wanting to help is natural, I like to help, I have learned to stop helping when I have to accept that the receiving side actually isn't asking for help but for unending attention, because nothing ever really changes except this overwhelming neediness. This is now a boundary I have in my dealings with others and I constantly make sure this boundary is kept in place by me. I'm not telling you to run or stay, you'll have to figure this out yourself, I'm simply letting you know that it is totally normal to reevaluate friendships as they change, you change yourself and for many other reasons. For me doing the "right thing" means you can see change from what you are doing for others, you and the help you offer are respected, then it is possibly worthwhile the pain.

Your friend is now at an age where she can reach at least some level of control over her illness if she invests the time, energy and work. The people coming to the "Dealing with PDparents" board have been abused as children and mostly into adulthood, they are all here to work on themselves, to heal and grow. Having gone through hell growing up is an explanation for behavior but not an excuse imho. (I'm sorry if there is an edge in my writing here, I have heard the words "I went through so much.", "If you only knew!", "You don't understand." too many times as an excuse for emotionally abusive behavior by my PDparents and yes, I have heard a lot of their stories, they are still not an excuse for their behavior, at best an explanation.)

I'm sorry you have to make these tough decisions and are dealing with such turmoil when it all started out as a simple friendship.

Here is a parting thought, which I think applies to a friendship just as well, especially an emotionally so involved one:
"Any intimate relationship is one in which neither party silences, sacrifices or betrays the self and each party expresses strength and vulnerability, weakness and competence in a balanced way." Harriet Lerner
« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 09:03:37 PM by practical »
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel)

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Dr. Pepper

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2016, 06:18:13 PM »
Before I reply to specific posts, I'll just give an update. Last week, I laid some preliminary boundaries and it went surprisingly well. The first boundary was that I told her that, if she stays for the night, I no longer want to sleep in the same room. The second boundary was that I told her I would no longer be staying up till the wee hours trying to get her to do or not do something. The first boundary has already been put into practice and is a huge relief. The second, admittedly will be much harder. I haven't been tested yet.

Have you considered that this medical episode, along with the constant suicide threats, are a way to keep your attention? This can certainly be the case if she has romantic feelings for you. I'm not a professional and do not mean to be callous, but I would think most people who are truly suicidal don't make eleven "attempts".
That hit me.

Yes, I have considered that the suicide threats might be for attention, but up to this point I have taken a better-safe-than-sorry approach. Still... if one truly wanted to die, I think she would be dead by now. I don't think it's only a way of getting attention - I do think there is genuine misery and hopelessness there - but I think I now recognize that it is a complex situation and things aren't necessarily what they seem.

Quote from: DaisyGirl77
Now, I know that you have very clearly stated that you didn't walk into this friendship with this woman carting around a hero complex, but this is how it's sounding, in a way.  The very simplest, basic fact is that there comes a point where you just have to walk away.  This woman is a black hole of need.  As with all black holes, there is, scientifically speaking, no end to the depths of their need.  They will never be "full".  Their lid will never close.  They are a giant, gaping maw of loneliness, need, and isolation that NO ONE PERSON can ever fill.  She has appointed YOU her savior.  YOU, according to her logic, are her police.  YOU are responsible for preventing her from doing everything self-destructive she wants to do.  You CANNOT continue to be her police.  It is NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to do this.  It is NOT YOUR JOB.  It is HERS, & hers alone to police herself.
I am slowly learning this. The reason I joined this site is that I recognized that change is needed, but I wasn't sure what that change would look like. For now my strategy is to break out of the either/or mentality that I either live a lifetime of paranoia and suffocation, giving up my dreams in the process, or I abandon her. What I want to do is to remain her friend, but to return our friendship to a state of normalcy. And that means setting boundaries and sticking to them. There was a time when I loved having her as a friend. I want to go back to that if I can.

Dr. Pepper:

Maybe this woman has you trauma bonded to her.  You sound afraid to make her feel a slight twinge of discomfort, and I'm guessing she wants you that way.

Also, if I didn't say it before...... all relationships go through periods of negotiation and flux.  We never have the same exact relationship, marriage, friends forever. Things are supposed to be negotiated.... think about the changes your friend brought into this relationship, and I do believe there was no negotiation involved.  She's not interested in your welbeing.  She wants what she wants, regardless of what it costs you. 
 
That's not a healthy reciprocal relationship.  Why is that your best friend?  How did that happen to you?  These are rhetorical questions for you.  Not the board. 

Still, I find it disturbing that you feel you must handle her feelings with kit gloves even as she's shoving the weight of her entire world/mental health/very life onto your shoulders in what, from this POV, is a very inappropriate dynamic you seem very comfortable with.

Why is this so comfortable for you?  Is there a past relationship that was problematic for you with a parent or sibling?

You may not see it now, but you can't save people from themselves.

You're morally obligated to save yourself as a priority.

Taking care of you is the most loving thing you can do for those around you.... it's your actual job.

When the discomfort of staying outweighs the discomfort of leaving, then you'll go?

Why does it have to come to that?  Why does it have to get messy, and chaotic and cost you days weeks or months of writhing in anticipatory agony over... over asking for some necessary change to save yourself?

Does that compute for you?  That this friend isn't interested in your mental health.... everything is about her her her her health, her life, her latest crisis?

You're getting something from the relationship too.... I have to remind myself of that.  I'm still seeing things that I did/needed/brought about that were about me, not the pd.

We all have our issues.

Good luck,

hhaw
You're right. I have been "trauma bonded" to her. The slightest thing can cause her emotional devastation. If I said something to upset her and she offed herself shortly after, no amount of being told that she was a ticking time bomb or that my comment was the straw that broke the camel's back would console me. Right or wrong, I would blame myself.

However, as I said, I am recognizing the need to take that risk. I dislike gambling; I'm a "safety first" kind of guy. But, in this scenario, I now recognize that way of thinking will drive me to insanity, and also inhibit her mental progress by always being a safety net.

And I would say that she is actually concerned for my mental health. She has mentioned her concern for my mental health and said she sometimes regrets starting a conversation with me when we first met. Thing is when she says things like "Just go to bed" I thought it was a test and I'm not convinced I'm wrong. She even told me one time that she gives people opportunities to abandon her because she subconsciously wants to see if they will. It's a confusing mess, but somehow I do believe her when she says she cares about me. She hates the way she is.

Either way... you asked why I'm so comfortable with this and... I'm not. At all. That's why I want things to change. I fell into the trap simply because I thought my friend was going through "a rough time" and the right thing to do as a friend was to be by her side and support her through it. I was unaware of the crushing weight of the disease until it was too late and the responsibility I had took on was revealed to have no end in sight.

Quote from: practical
I know you may have reached your breaking point and are starting to distance yourself, I just wanted to let you know anyway: Every time she threatens suicide, you have to call 911, and if it is three times a day. You can not be responsible for her suicidal thoughts and threats, a situation like that needs to be handled by professionals.
She hasn't explicitly threatened suicide in a while. It's more like:

Me: Are you going to be okay tonight?
Her: I can't give you a definitive answer.

If she made an explicit threat, I would call 911, but if I called every time I suspected suicidal thoughts or intent it would be every night. Aside from averting an explicit threat, I don't think calling 911 would help at this point. She is getting treatment soon. Her lack of clarity does make me uneasy, but she was a little more clear this week. It sounds like she'll be getting general/intro therapy for a while and then DBT therapy after that. If that turns out to not be the case after all, I will call her out on it.

Quote from: practical
When you became her friend you only new about one part of the person, now you have to look at the full picture and decide whether she is still a friend to you, whether this is healthy to you. Wanting to help is natural, I like to help, I have learned to stop helping when I have to accept that the receiving side actually isn't asking for help but for unending attention, because nothing ever really changes except this overwhelming neediness. This is now a boundary I have in my dealings with others and I constantly make sure this boundary is kept in place by me. I'm not telling you to run or stay, you'll have to figure this out yourself, I'm simply letting you know that it is totally normal to reevaluate friendships as they change, you change yourself and for many other reasons. For me doing the "right thing" means you can see change from what you are doing for others, you and the help you offer are respected, then it is possibly worthwhile the pain.
Time will tell, I guess. I now understand that by giving into her constant need for attention and being her personal police force is not doing either of us any favours. As I said I would like to return our friendship to normalcy by placing and maintaining boundaries. If I can't then I will have a tough decision to make.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2016, 06:23:10 PM by Dr. Pepper »

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hhaw

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2016, 08:13:09 PM »
Dr. Pepper:

Do you feel that spending the night together is a good idea?

I think friends hanging out, having sleep overs, and late night chats SOUNDS like fun, but......

I'm not really one of those people who's comfortable doing it regularly.  Does it fit in with the life you want to lead?

Does it inhibit your ability to seek out female companionship?

Does it FEEL right to you, or do you think you're headed toward another boundary change around that?

If so, it's easier to change a boundary ONCE and get it right.  Changing is hard.  Pushing her back inch by inch sounds tedious, more painful than it has to be, and like a lot of dreading's involved, IMO.

Nice to see you're working on it though; )

hhaw
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
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Dr. Pepper

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2016, 09:22:40 PM »
@hhaw: I would say that I eventually want to her to stop spending the night. So, yes, one day I will tell her so.

As it stands, I'm not in a huge hurry. One step at a time. I'm still relieved that my boundary of not sleeping in the same room worked out and I have yet to test out my other not-staying-up-late boundary. Once that has been tested or I feel it's been long enough, I will think about setting the next boundary. The idea is to do this gradually, so she doesn't feel as though I'm abandoning her.

As far as this impeding my ability to find an actual girlfriend... I will say this. If there was a girl I was interested in and who was interested in me, then this would likely be a problem. But, heck, I've been waiting for that since I've hit puberty. I'm actually quite picky and have only been interested enough to ask out two girls in my life. I don't think I'll find someone I want to date tomorrow. If I did, it would likely speed along the boundary-setting process, but I see no reason to drop a bunch of abandonment bombs (not that they are, but it will seem like that to her) on her all at once for a hypothetical person.

I am moving forward and learning to set boundaries, but it won't all happen overnight. Nor do I think it should.

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Dr. Pepper

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2016, 12:05:48 AM »
^ What exactly are you expecting of me? To just drop my friend, cease all contact, and forget I ever met her?

I am currently in a process of setting up boundaries, but it is gradual. I hope to get to a point where our friendship is "normal", and this process will hopefully go along with her recovery. I am aware that I may have to cut ties if things continue as they have for the past few months, but I can at least give things a chance to improve rather than just throwing in the towel without trying. My attitude has changed in the past week from being one of paranoia and martyrdom to one of actively seeking to return our friendship to a state of normalcy. She has also expressed her desire to see things return to normal. Doubtless when she said that, it was one of many contradictory voices, but the fact that she did say it is, I think, significant. I've seen notable improvement in my own mental health and our friendship just in the past week. As long as this trend of improvement continues, I don't see why I should stop now. We'll see where it goes, but I hardly see what the rush is. I'm still young.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 12:16:40 AM by Dr. Pepper »

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Bloomie

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2016, 01:36:08 AM »
Dr. Pepper - No one here, or anywhere else can tell you what is right and best for you in this relationship. At the end of the day, each one of us must look at ourselves in the mirror and be able to say we did what we thought was best. Your patience and support of your friend, who is admittedly struggling, is to be commended and is a rare kind of love and friendship not seen very often these days.

We each have to find our own unique path and even make some mistakes along the way in relationships as complex as what you describe here. What we want to do here, most of all is to be a sounding board, a source of support and encouragement and to empower you as you make decisions and form strategies that are from your core values and own wisdom and discernment.

It sounds like you are learning and growing through all of this and that is the point of any difficulty really. That we are refined and enlightened through it. Sending you strength as you go forward and wisdom as you begin to set boundaries and limits and get this friendship back on a more healthy and reciprocal track.



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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2016, 10:34:59 AM »
Dr Pepper, your situation sounds so much like two situations I have in my life. One is my uPDm who isn't diagnosed but is terribly dependent on me for any happiness in life. It was suffocating and no amount of giving and sacrifice was ever enough to satisfy her need. Yes, she can be fun to be around but her mood quickly changes for no apparent reason to vicious and stabbing, but then back again to laughs and having fun. Even without such a disorder, no grown woman I know with a family of her own spends every day with her mother in addition to texts, phone calls and emails. If she could've crawled into my brain and set up camp there I believe she would have and still wouldn't have been happy. I felt suffocated beyond measure and if I tried to do something without her I got the riot act. If I went out with friends of my own she befriended my friends and got herself and enF invited along. I had no life outside of spending it with her and she made sure of it. If I went to a store without her I got the riot act about how I left her out or else a hissy fit. Sometimes she played the medical angle, some mysterious illness and I'm supposed to fawn and be scared she's dying. She has done this all my life, always on the verge of death.

I provide all that detail because when I was in the midst of it I didn't recognize it as at all controlling. When I tried to talk to her and set a boundary before realizing there was a disorder I got drama of nuclear proportions. Read the riot act by both uPDm and enF that all they do is love me and I'm rejecting them I'd just fall back in line. This happened a few times in my life where I tried to set reasonable boundaries although at the time I knew nothing of boundaries and just wanted a life. They raised me to not be able to distinguish between their needs and mine, I wasn't an individual I was part of the family and without the family I was nothing.

One day a few years ago I was at the point of exhaustion, nightmares where I woke up literally choking kept me up at night, dealing with mentally disordered uPDm and enF all day. Emotionally I was tapped out. I threw in the towel and gave up. One day uPDm confronted me about what is wrong, she thinks I'm withdrawing from her. Really? I spend every day with you all day and then have to deal with texts, email and phone calls. I'm withdrawing because I need a nap? My reply 'I just don't think I can live up to your expectations of me' because that's how I felt. Like a total failure as a human because I couldn't please her. She had an absolute fit, screamed in my face and walked away. I was dumbfounded, did some research and landed here.

Forever grateful I lend about boundaries, that I'm a human being not a human doing, I have individual rights and adults are supposed to leave the nest and be an individual, that I'm not responsible for her mental well being even though I'm her daughter. Reading the Toolbox helped me see so clearly. Reading the topic Hoover in Traits helped me see those drama riot acts were ways to get me back in line.

Do uPDm and enF know what they're doing is manipulative? I don't believe consciously they're aware. I believe like a drug addict or toddler they know what they want and they want it now and they don't take to the word 'no' very well at all. The drama Hoover that they just love me so much and all they want is love in return - how they define love is enmeshed and I will always fail their test. The medical drama is just more Hoover for attention. The passive aggressive tantrums like a toddler when they hear 'no' and don't like it.

Speaking of enmeshed it might be a topic worth exploring. Love is not enmeshment and friendship is not enmeshed or exclusive of everything else. See this link for more information http://outofthefog.website/top-100-trait-blog/2015/11/4/engulfment-enmeshment

The second issue I have is a friend diagnosed PD and other disorders. She's in treatment for her various disorders. We became friends after I began my journey OOTF and I laid down boundaries from the beginning. Now in a 'here's a boundary' kind of way because that's not me. It was more of a 'here's what you need and here's what I can do' kind of thing. Also being aware of my not being her sole confidant or go to person. I told her kindly I'm not up for the task and confided I have issues of my own that need attention. To my amazement this person understands and never pushes or manipulates me. If she calls with drama and issue I listen and then ask her if she will bring that up to her therapist this week and we move onto a safer topic. That is the end of my job, to listen, empathize and then point her in the direction of the professionals.

I've tried that with uPDm also but she won't have it so with her I've had to severely limit contact, maintain boundaries when I'm with her and its emotionally and mentally exhausting.  (No emails, text or calls unless some extreme situation warrants such and only see them in passing if we meet at the store in this small town)

So with my diagnosed friend who is self aware and self reflective I can maintain a friendship. With uPDm and enF I cannot have any relationship at all. Much depended on the other recognizing you as an individual.

Hopefully the tools here on the website and the community here in the forum help you find a balance that works for you.
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hhaw

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2016, 01:40:34 PM »
^ What exactly are you expecting of me? To just drop my friend, cease all contact, and forget I ever met her?


DP:

Reading your posts I can say I honestly never thought you would do that, even if someone here thought it was a good idea.

I think I must have miscommunicated, bc what I wanted to say was this.

Pulling a bandaid off slowly, and in dribs and drabs, esp off a very serious wound, is excruciating.

Just yanking it off, and going forward is, for me, a better option.

Same with putting a new routine in place with children..... if I take the time to think through the routine I want, and then DO IT when I have the energy, and ability to sustain it, I do that. 

The reason is that change is so very difficult on everyone.  On the one putting the change in place, and the ones adjusting to it.

I see your point, but I wanted to bring share a saying....

The kind cut is the stinkiest cut.

I would hate for you to suffer over and over every time you want you push a boundary back, over and over, in order to get to "normal."

If you can think this through, then do it once, it seems like it would benefit you and your friend, IMO.

90% research, and 10% execution for the big projects in our lives,  IME.

This is a big project, and you have a big heart, DP.

Your friend is lucky to have you in her life.

hhaw
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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Frazzled

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2016, 06:37:25 PM »
Quote from: DaisyGirl77
Now, I know that you have very clearly stated that you didn't walk into this friendship with this woman carting around a hero complex, but this is how it's sounding, in a way.  The very simplest, basic fact is that there comes a point where you just have to walk away.  This woman is a black hole of need.  As with all black holes, there is, scientifically speaking, no end to the depths of their need.  They will never be "full".  Their lid will never close.  They are a giant, gaping maw of loneliness, need, and isolation that NO ONE PERSON can ever fill.  She has appointed YOU her savior.  YOU, according to her logic, are her police.  YOU are responsible for preventing her from doing everything self-destructive she wants to do.  You CANNOT continue to be her police.  It is NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to do this.  It is NOT YOUR JOB.  It is HERS, & hers alone to police herself.
I am slowly learning this. The reason I joined this site is that I recognized that change is needed, but I wasn't sure what that change would look like. For now my strategy is to break out of the either/or mentality that I either live a lifetime of paranoia and suffocation, giving up my dreams in the process, or I abandon her. What I want to do is to remain her friend, but to return our friendship to a state of normalcy. And that means setting boundaries and sticking to them. There was a time when I loved having her as a friend. I want to go back to that if I can.

I recognized, the hard way, with my uBPD ex-friend, is that the emotional roller coaster is their definition of "normalcy". Everywhere this ex-friend went, including Facebook, there was some kind of "war" going on. He contantly switched sides in these "wars". I realized that trying to stay "friends" was an exercise in futility and I had to get out, for the sake of my health and my marriage. This ex-friend reminded me of a political joke: http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-parable-of-the-senators-vote-129041/

For me, the ex-friend helping my boyfriend/husband and I get jobs and move out of state was the "campaign". His condition came up much later, after we "voted".

(And even though I put the ball squarely in his court to seek help or end the "friendship", he still blames me for ending the "friendship".)

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Frazzled

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2016, 06:44:01 PM »
Story time:  Once upon a time, I had a friend.  This friend was romantically interested in me for years after our meeting, at ages 12 & 13.  Upon this first meeting, he immediately asked me out.  I said sure.  We lasted a week.  When I broke it off with him, he threatened to kill himself.  Of course, I begged & pleaded, & we remained together.  EVERY TIME I tried to break it off, he threatened suicide.  I was 12, & the thought of a boy killing himself over our breakup was too much for 12 year old me to handle.  My mother offered a solution:  Tell him that if he threatens to kill himself one more time, you're calling the police.  So I did.  He was shocked speechless.  "You wouldn't!"  I retorted, "Try me!"

By this time, we were extremely close friends.  He tried a few more times after that (in the weeks & months after I finally broke it off), & one day I really had it out with him.  I informed him that what he was doing was imposing his will upon me by emotionally manipulating me into "saving" him from himself, when he really had zero intention of suicide.  I told him he was so desperate for a girlfriend that he was willing to stay in a relationship where the girl felt trapped because if she left, the burden would be on her because he'd died.  I said that this behavior was considered abuse.  I told him that if he ever did it to me again, I was cutting off our friendship for good.  He would no longer have me in his life.  Before I slammed down the phone, I rammed the point home:  "Which would you rather have:  Me?  Or no life?"

It was the first time I'd truly gotten mad at him & it shocked him deeply.  He actually apologized for his manipulative & abusive behavior.

What I said to him at the time got through to him.  He never did it to me again, & he never did it to any of his other girlfriends.

I hope all this has given you food for thought.  Keep up setting the boundaries.  It's about time SHE does something productive for a change.  Your own head needs a break from all the banging (on a brick wall) you've been doing with it.

I wish I could say the same about how my friendship with the uBPD ex-friend ended. A year after ceasing all contact, he still has yet to learn, and sent me a lengthy email a few months ago about wanting to get back in contact with me despite failing to seek treatment. Now my mother-in-law is keeping him from me and my spouse. It helps that she lives very far from us and all contact is online.

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Frazzled

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Re: Friend with borderline personality disorder
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2016, 06:58:14 PM »
Quote from: DaisyGirl77
Now, I know that you have very clearly stated that you didn't walk into this friendship with this woman carting around a hero complex, but this is how it's sounding, in a way.  The very simplest, basic fact is that there comes a point where you just have to walk away.  This woman is a black hole of need.  As with all black holes, there is, scientifically speaking, no end to the depths of their need.  They will never be "full".  Their lid will never close.  They are a giant, gaping maw of loneliness, need, and isolation that NO ONE PERSON can ever fill.  She has appointed YOU her savior.  YOU, according to her logic, are her police.  YOU are responsible for preventing her from doing everything self-destructive she wants to do.  You CANNOT continue to be her police.  It is NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to do this.  It is NOT YOUR JOB.  It is HERS, & hers alone to police herself.
I am slowly learning this. The reason I joined this site is that I recognized that change is needed, but I wasn't sure what that change would look like. For now my strategy is to break out of the either/or mentality that I either live a lifetime of paranoia and suffocation, giving up my dreams in the process, or I abandon her. What I want to do is to remain her friend, but to return our friendship to a state of normalcy. And that means setting boundaries and sticking to them. There was a time when I loved having her as a friend. I want to go back to that if I can.

I recognized, the hard way, with my uBPD ex-friend, is that the emotional roller coaster is their definition of "normalcy". Everywhere this ex-friend went, including Facebook, there was some kind of "war" going on. He contantly switched sides in these "wars". I realized that trying to stay "friends" was an exercise in futility and I had to get out, for the sake of my health and my marriage. This ex-friend reminded me of a political joke: http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-parable-of-the-senators-vote-129041/

For me, the ex-friend helping my boyfriend/husband and I get jobs and move out of state was the "campaign". His condition came up much later, after we "voted".

(And even though I put the ball squarely in his court to seek help or end the "friendship", he still blames me for ending the "friendship".)

Story time:  Once upon a time, I had a friend.  This friend was romantically interested in me for years after our meeting, at ages 12 & 13.  Upon this first meeting, he immediately asked me out.  I said sure.  We lasted a week.  When I broke it off with him, he threatened to kill himself.  Of course, I begged & pleaded, & we remained together.  EVERY TIME I tried to break it off, he threatened suicide.  I was 12, & the thought of a boy killing himself over our breakup was too much for 12 year old me to handle.  My mother offered a solution:  Tell him that if he threatens to kill himself one more time, you're calling the police.  So I did.  He was shocked speechless.  "You wouldn't!"  I retorted, "Try me!"

By this time, we were extremely close friends.  He tried a few more times after that (in the weeks & months after I finally broke it off), & one day I really had it out with him.  I informed him that what he was doing was imposing his will upon me by emotionally manipulating me into "saving" him from himself, when he really had zero intention of suicide.  I told him he was so desperate for a girlfriend that he was willing to stay in a relationship where the girl felt trapped because if she left, the burden would be on her because he'd died.  I said that this behavior was considered abuse.  I told him that if he ever did it to me again, I was cutting off our friendship for good.  He would no longer have me in his life.  Before I slammed down the phone, I rammed the point home:  "Which would you rather have:  Me?  Or no life?"

It was the first time I'd truly gotten mad at him & it shocked him deeply.  He actually apologized for his manipulative & abusive behavior.

What I said to him at the time got through to him.  He never did it to me again, & he never did it to any of his other girlfriends.

I hope all this has given you food for thought.  Keep up setting the boundaries.  It's about time SHE does something productive for a change.  Your own head needs a break from all the banging (on a brick wall) you've been doing with it.

I wish I could say the same about how my friendship with the uBPD ex-friend ended. A year after ceasing all contact, he still has yet to learn, and sent me a lengthy email a few months ago about wanting to get back in contact with me despite failing to seek treatment. Now my mother-in-law is keeping him from me and my spouse. It helps that she lives very far from us and all contact is online.

^ What exactly are you expecting of me? To just drop my friend, cease all contact, and forget I ever met her?

I am currently in a process of setting up boundaries, but it is gradual. I hope to get to a point where our friendship is "normal", and this process will hopefully go along with her recovery. I am aware that I may have to cut ties if things continue as they have for the past few months, but I can at least give things a chance to improve rather than just throwing in the towel without trying. My attitude has changed in the past week from being one of paranoia and martyrdom to one of actively seeking to return our friendship to a state of normalcy. She has also expressed her desire to see things return to normal. Doubtless when she said that, it was one of many contradictory voices, but the fact that she did say it is, I think, significant. I've seen notable improvement in my own mental health and our friendship just in the past week. As long as this trend of improvement continues, I don't see why I should stop now. We'll see where it goes, but I hardly see what the rush is. I'm still young.

From my experience, my ex-friend's desire to return our "friendship" to normal was just a way to manipulate me into thinking he was getting help. But then when I lobbed a little criticism his way, he called me a "B****" 5 times in a row. Like hhaw mentioned above, "pulling the bandage off quickly" was what I needed to do. From that point I have contacted him exactly zero times and my health has been improving since. And from what my mother-in-law told me, he has shown no signs of improvement or seeking help.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 07:01:03 PM by Frazzled »