How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?

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countrygirl

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2019, 12:52:08 PM »
That is so true, Staywithme.   

In this woman's case, "being herself" consisted of unbelievable displays of anger.   I remember she once told me that she and the longterm friend who dropped her used to have big arguments and think nothing of it.  She said,  "Once a cake was thrown."  I bet I know by whom...  It is sort of a funny image, because of the comic associations of pie-throwing, I would bet, but not so funny in actuality, I'm sure.  At any rate, I guess these arguments were not as okay with this friend as she thought, because the woman withdrew completely and totally after a while.   

This woman could seem so charming and even witty.  Seeing at these times, one might have found it difficult to believe that she was the same person with such a hellish temper, but it became so that her angry personality seemed like her true self to me, and to others. 

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clara

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2019, 02:24:01 PM »
There's understanding their disorder, then there's accepting that understanding.  It's hard for non-PDs to accept the disorder for what it is.  But, imagine if we were asked to be like them.  Most of us couldn't do it, wouldn't even know how to start.  I think they would regard being asked to be like us is, for them, the same dilemma.  That's not who they are. 


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countrygirl

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2019, 07:27:05 AM »
Hi clara,

I think you make a good point.   But yet my friend did know how to charm people, so she could behave well, when there was something she wanted.  So I think she knew how to behave, but I agree that it was unnatural for her.




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commongoal123

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2019, 12:21:01 AM »
Hi,

My title was too long for the subject line:  "How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions, or whether they are too mentally ill to be held responsible?" 

I ponder this because, over the years, various people have said that my NPD mother was mentally ill, and others have said that a NPD friend with whom I ended a friendship could not be held accountable for her treatment of me because she had mental problems.  I don't want to be unsympathetic to my mother or to this friend, but it always seemed to me that they were choosing how to behave.  I certainly saw both of them behave well when there was something in it for them.  Thoughts on this topic?  Also, when people say this to me I always feel guilty for holding them accountable for their behavior.

I've learned, for myself, that instead of overthinking and trying to figure out answers to philosophical and existential questions such as the one you are presenting, it is much healthier and effective for me to see the behavior for what it is, and distance myself from it.

PDs are PDs, you and I both know their behavioral traits.

Those behavioral traits are as inexcusable as murder; conducted by the mentally ill or not.

But if you want an answer to your question...

They know what they are doing is wrong, they just don't do anything to stop themselves.

Just because they're mentally ill doesn't excuse them from the responsibility of being a decent human being.

Regarding the guilt you're feeling for holding someone accountable for their behavior.... be objective about that for a second.

I think you're being over-responsible regarding the above statement.  Way too over-responsible.

We are talking about a PD here, not someone with autism (maybe).

On that note, if a 30 yr old autistic male walks up and smacks a woman on the ass... if they aren't held accountable they won't even have the chance of learning that it is inappropriate.

Similarly, if PDs aren't held accountable for their actions, they also won't ever learn (they still may never change even if they do learn).

But at the end of the day, if they aren't held accountable they'll only have more free reign to act inappropriately.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 10:44:30 AM by Bloomie »

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countrygirl

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2019, 10:40:34 AM »
Hi commongoal123,

I do tend to over analyze things and certainly in the case of PDs, I should just trust my gut more.   Having said that, I do appreciate your taking the time and effort to tell me that you believe they are responsible and should be held accountable.  A friend told me about an article on Bipolar Disorder, in which the author, who was Bipolar, said that people who are Bipolar are responsible for their actions.  Apparently the month after the article appeared, the magazine printed replies in which other people with Bipolar Disorder said that they are responsible for their actions, and that not to hold them responsible was to treat them as if they WEREtheir disorder rather than as humans with free will. 

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artfox

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2019, 10:26:46 PM »
I've struggled with this as well. I often feel guilty for getting angry at my unBPDm for things she did when I was a kid, and for things she still does. I know her childhood was often horrific, and I understand that lack of impulse control is part of the disorder.

BUT...I also remind myself that her issues made my childhood often horrific. And that her lack of impulse control did a lot of damage that I'm still dealing with. That makes it easier for me to stop feeling guilty.

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countrygirl

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2019, 09:38:21 AM »
Hi artfox,

I know what you mean.  I am sure that my mother's childhood must have been horrible in many ways, and I do feel compassion for her, but her treatment of me created lifelong issues--including the high tolerance I have for bad behavior from friends. 

I think that I have had very high tolerance for others, while not realizing the I needed to think a little more about myself and a little less about them. 

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Indivisible

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2019, 10:14:53 PM »
This post has really gotten me to think about what it means to be accountable for oneís actions. Does it mean that if someone is not accountable for their actions that we must forgive them? Or consequently, does this mean that if someone  is accountable for their actions that they should not be forgiven? Or, does this have anything to do with forgiveness? One example comes to mind: say I go up to a dog who has a bone and I try to take the bone away from him or her, thereís a good chance that the dog will try to bite me.   I donít think that holding the dog accountable for their actions has much to do with my learning process. I accept the fact that this is a dogs nature. And I should learn in the future  not to do this. So said the frog to the scorpion. I believe that my father (who has passed) was an UNPD. The particular way that his disease played out my life is that he left my mother, brother and I for a much younger woman and started a new family with GC children. He never looked back. While it is difficult for me to fathom how a parent could just leave behind children, and learning about PDAs itís seeming like this  type of behavior is very much in their nature. I believe that he was so far in the NPD spectrum that he could not really have cared about or understood the heartache that he caused because I believe that this type of brain wiring ( for whatever NPD is)  just does not lend itself to actually caring about other people. I have not forgiven him. If he were alive, Iím thinking that I would go NC with him as I just donít see that he and I had very much in common once the ďparentĒ connection was shown for what it truly was - nothing. Was he accountable for his actions?   Was he a diseased human being who didnít know what he was doing?   Iím always trying to understand what forgiveness means. I read something interesting about this. It was a story about a man who hired a friend/acquaintance to do some work for him. The friend did not  have a very good reputation for being reliable. Well, the friend did not do the work as was asked and paid for. The man said that he forgave his friend/acquaintance for his actions. Another person asked the man then, ďso since you have forgiven him  then you will be hiring him to do some more work for you?Ē  The man said no and that forgiveness does not mean that you allow a person to hurt you again. The man said that he would not be doing his friend or himself any favors by allowing the same situation to occur again. So, this reminds me of my own struggle with forgiveness and holding people accountable for their actions.  Question: how much do I let them in my life knowing their nature?

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Poison Ivy

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2019, 12:25:05 AM »
Invisible, when deciding whether to let someone back into your life, I suggest you focus on your own comfort level.  Expect that whatever behavior the person engaged in before will be engaged in again.  How will you feel when that happens? If you can say now, "I will feel bad when that person engages in that behavior again," I suggest that you be accountable to and responsible for yourself now and decide now NOT to let the person back in your life.

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StayWithMe

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2019, 01:28:46 AM »
Quote
I believe that my father (who has passed) was an UNPD. The particular way that his disease played out my life is that he left my mother, brother and I for a much younger woman and started a new family with GC children. He never looked back. While it is difficult for me to fathom how a parent could just leave behind children, and learning about PDAs itís seeming like this  type of behavior is very much in their nature.

Did your father have an ideal as to what his family should look like and be like?

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countrygirl

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2019, 09:39:38 AM »
Hi Indivisible,

I'm sorry that your NPD father abandoned you and your family.  My father passed a few years ago, and I struggle with some of the issues you raise.

One thing to consider is, if your father were alive, would he be struggling about how he treated you?  From what you say, I think not.  And I know for certain that my father would not.  When you think about it, WE are the ones burdened with how to react to their bad behavior.  And this is a good example of what it's like to deal with an NPD.

Based upon all of my dealings with NPDs, I think it's best to keep them as far out of your life as possible. 

Regarding forgiveness, I think it's a totally personal matter.   



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Starboard Song

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2019, 10:23:12 AM »
This post has really gotten me to think about what it means to be accountable for oneís actions. Does it mean that if someone is not accountable for their actions that we must forgive them? Or consequently, does this mean that if someone  is accountable for their actions that they should not be forgiven? Or, does this have anything to do with forgiveness?

I think you are on to something, and totally agree.

I leave the metaphysics and philosophy to those well-equipped for such matters. I suspect this: if we consistently behave in ways that protect us from those who predictably cause us pain, we will be happier and healthier, and few of us would return here to inquire about any metaphysical concepts of accountability and forgiveness.

Some people may genuinely be concerned about moral culpability and such, but I stand by my more practical position: if a car is careening towards you on the sidewalk, it doesn't matter whether the driver is a terrorist, or an old man having a medical emergency. The state of mind of the driver is absolutely irrelevant to your decision. That car is about to predictably hurt you and you must take action to preserve yourself.

I encourage everyone to make sure they are taking that kind of action, doing so with firm resolve and a light heart, before wading into murky questions of responsibility, accountability, culpability, and all such matters. I suspect that far too often those latter questions prevent us from action on the former immediate need.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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Poison Ivy

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2019, 11:21:16 AM »
Starboard Song, hero member and hero post.  Thank you!  You expressed this so clearly and helpfully.

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countrygirl

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2019, 11:53:29 AM »
I agree with Starboard Song that you have to get out of the way of the careening car but sometimes, even when the PD is dead, you are left wondering about what caused them to behave as they did.  In fact, sometimes when the relationship is over you think about this even more, because you are no longer dealing with the person. 

But I agree that trying to figure out whether the person is responsible for their actions while you're the brunt of their bad behavior could delay taking action to just get out of their way. 

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Starboard Song

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2019, 01:27:07 PM »
Thank you, countrygirl, for reminding us that it is only natural to ponder the questions that began this thread.

How did we get here? What part did I play? How could it have gone better? Are they really guilty of something, or are they a sort of victim, too, since they have a "condition"?

Those are all natural inquiries, and I should clarify that I don't demean people for exploring them. Long-term health may very well require us to find a path towards forgiveness, or sympathy, or understanding. I am very sad for my MIL: she is hurting more than we are, and her internal pain leads to her external volatility. I wish her peace.

I just encourage people to entirely separate these from practical questions of survival and health now, based on predictable outcomes of the choices we make.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 02:08:25 PM by Starboard Song »
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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Jade63

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2019, 01:28:32 PM »
Thank you for that very clear post, Starboard Song!

When I think about some of the most horrific and brutal stories stories I've see on TV, how could knowing the "why" ever be enough for me to think "Oh, OK, I see why s/he committed that heinous act...it all makes sense now"?

And while my Narents did not commit heinous acts upon me, I can't see how any explanation as to "why" they treated me the way they did would ever be satisfying...at least not to my rational mind.

You're right. The "why" simply does not matter, and would likely not be completely understood if known. This may be the key I needed to just let it go.

Thank you!
~Jade

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Indivisible

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2019, 04:44:21 AM »
In my upbringing I was taught/conditioned to always put aside my feelings or my best interests for others. Emotions were not accepted in my household; anger, joy, happiness, sadness, frustration Ė showing these would lead to my mother trying to control me. So I learned to keep my feelings inside and deny them.  I was told that I was selfish and defective.  So, with this conditioning my brain just naturally went to a place of philosophical contemplation when it came to my feelings. If i would feel angry or hurt I had to really think through if I had a right to feel angry or if I was not adequately  thinking of others or putting their needs ahead of my own. We all have our own struggles. I have come across a lot of information that confirms that Iím not completely alone in feeling alienated  from my feelings. I think it was Winston Churchill who said if you find yourself in hell keep going. To me this means that the way to the other side is to go through things. So, I canít really just turn off this philosophical side of my brain, unfortunately.  Itís been how Iíve dealt with things my whole life.  Even now, my instinct is to go back to that place where I try to think things through rather than to just feel.  Iím a work in progress. I feel itís important to honor this process in myself, as I am learning.   Learning about the PDAs of my parents is new to me. This information just makes a whole Lotta sense to me.  Things feel like they finally make sense. But Iím not really in a place where I can just let things go or forget about them.  I completely agree that I want to be forward-looking Ė Iím on this boat labeled ďhealĒ, and Iím on a journey now in this direction.  I feel a freedom being on this journey that Iíve never felt before.  Part of this journey, for me, is trying to understand the people who have done me harm.  Not because I wish them any harm in anyway, but because I want to see the truth.   I have lived with the lies my whole entire life that there was something defective with me and thatís the reason my father left. But the real reason that he left my family behind has to do with him - not me.  I donít wish to look behind at my life because I have scores to settle or because I want anybody else to suffer; I look behind to understand so that my future might be free of these chains.  I look behind as well as forward so that I might be able to recognize and avoid those who come across my path who may have the same problems as the people in my past.  Itís totally weird that this focus has led me to begin to repair my inner child and to enjoy just the small fun things that life has to offer. I havenít enjoyed these things this way in such a long time.  My fatherís passed, so I guess I have the ultimate NC; but, to be completely honest with all of you if he were alive I donít know how I would behave towards him knowing what I now know.  I think my brain would naturally and instinctively wonder if he was accountable for his actions because he had a disease called NPD?   And I think I would instinctively try to consider his position more than my own.  That might not be the healthiest of reactions, but Iím being honest about my thoughts and process.  Trust me when I say that I am striving to focus on my own comfort level.  Goodness, even distinguishing my own comfort level is a supreme effort.  Never having been taught this it is something that I am learning to do.  It doesnít come easily for me.  I chose Indivisible because I wish to be strong and not divided from myself any longer.  I am not Invisible anymore or ever again.

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Starboard Song

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2019, 10:16:02 AM »
Trust me when I say that I am striving to focus on my own comfort level.  Goodness, even distinguishing my own comfort level is a supreme effort.  Never having been taught this it is something that I am learning to do.  It doesnít come easily for me.  I chose Indivisible because I wish to be strong and not divided from myself any longer.  I am not Invisible anymore or ever again.

I learn so much any time someone shares such stories. I was raised by two of the finest people to ever walk the earth, and it makes it hard to really get the depths of damage so many of us here (and my own DW) are dealing with.

I love the username Indivisible, and I think the journey and thought processes you've described are highly honorable. Keep going!
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 11:59:29 AM by Starboard Song »
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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Spygirl

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #38 on: March 15, 2019, 11:49:04 AM »
I agree with indivisible on Lot of that thread. I think its who WE are, questioning ourselves constantly in ways people with a more "normal" upbringing  would not even think anmbout most of the time. I believe it is our brainwashing, and our attempt to overcome being taught that the world is flat and gray, when we can see with our own eyes that it is round and full of color. We still dont believe we can trust what we actually see, that it HAS to be incorrect, yet there it is in full, raw, display.

I struggle with this and its effects. Adults have enormous power over childrens' developing minds. It is astonishing what has happened to me, that i comprehend it now and want ro change it, and yet i struggle with doubt .

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Indivisible

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Re: How can you decide whether a PD is responsible for their actions?
« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2019, 06:54:54 PM »
I love that - the world is round and full of color.  When my uNPDF left our family I was a pre-teen.  Right after he left my mother, brother, and I moved.  And after this, I started acting out (go figure - a traumatized teenager acting out?!).  Both my parents took the stance that I was making poor choices and it was my fault.  My mother took the stance of poor good mother has such a difficult daughter.  Looking back it breaks my heart that very few saw a hurting traumatized kid who really needed some good ole TLC and support.  So, for many years I swallowed hook, line, and sinker that my behavior was due to my decisions and defectiveness.  I was told that things were flat and grey and I believed it.  Now I can see the colors.  In my mind Iíve created new parents.  Itís incredible - they are so kind and supportive - and the are teaching me to accept myself.  Honestly, I didnít know such a thing was possible.