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Experiences with BPD


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Old 27th December 2011, 4:59 PM   #1
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Experiences with BPD

For those of you living with, have lived with or around people with BPD, what has your experience been like with those people who have this disorder?
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Old 29th December 2011, 11:42 AM   #2
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Kendrick, I lived with a BPDer exW for 15 years and have written about my experiences in many threads, e.g., Rebel's thread at http://www.loveshack.org/forums/show...35#post3398735. Why are you interested in Borderline Personality Disorder traits?
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Old 29th December 2011, 7:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Kendrick View Post
For those of you living with, have lived with or around people with BPD, what has your experience been like with those people who have this disorder?
I have written in many posts about my adult son and how BPD affected all our relationships. What is your interest in this unfortunate condition?
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Old 29th December 2011, 7:54 PM   #4
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I have a sister with it. Everyone with it has it manifest in their own way and on differing levels. My sister gets manic where she talks loud and fast and laughs and acts all extremely happy and high and then, she crashes at other times and is just negative, lightly paranoid, very territorial. She is in denial and has never treated it. It's very sad as she is aging and single and obese and will be totally lost when my mom passes. She gripes about stuff now but when my mom goes and she finds that no body is going to accommodate her nonsense or give a crap about what she likes or doesn't like, she's going to have one hell of a rude awakening.
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Old 30th December 2011, 12:18 PM   #5
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Wow, my interest in it comes from me wondering if I'm around someone who displays these traits. Its a family member.

Their moods change quickly SOMETIMES. Other times they can have the same mood for a few days or even weeks. Which reminds me more of bipolar. However, there are times where they can be ok one minute, then all of a sudden change, and it leaves me wondering what just happened? What went from one way to the next in a matter of a few minutes.

Is there such a thing as someone having bipolar and BPD? I know that when I'm around this person, they leave me feeling drained sometimes. They hit me as not having decent coping skills. Is not having good coping skills part of it?
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Old 30th December 2011, 12:34 PM   #6
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Wow, my interest in it comes from me wondering if I'm around someone who displays these traits. Its a family member.

Their moods change quickly SOMETIMES. Other times they can have the same mood for a few days or even weeks. Which reminds me more of bipolar. However, there are times where they can be ok one minute, then all of a sudden change, and it leaves me wondering what just happened? What went from one way to the next in a matter of a few minutes.

Is there such a thing as someone having bipolar and BPD? I know that when I'm around this person, they leave me feeling drained sometimes. They hit me as not having decent coping skills. Is not having good coping skills part of it?
From what I've read, I do believe poor coping skills are a part of BPD. It's like walking on eggshells to be around someone with BPD. You never know what will set them off, and it could be something totally innocuous. Like their emotions are out of control, much like a 2 year old who has very little control over his emotions, and very poor coping skills.
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Old 30th December 2011, 1:57 PM   #7
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Is there such a thing as someone having bipolar and BPD?
Yes, the lifetime incidence for having BPD at the diagnostic level is 6% of the population and about 25% of those BPDers also have bipolar disorder. Those are the results of a large-scale study (pub. 2008) funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
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They hit me as not having decent coping skills. Is not having good coping skills part of it?
Yes, I agree with KathyM. It is generally believed that a person with a strong pattern of BPD traits experienced a trauma in early childhood -- due to genetics and/or abuse or abandonment -- that froze their emotional development at about age 3 or 4. Their ego defenses therefore are limited to the primitive defenses we all use in early childhood, e.g., projection (blaming others), denial, magical thinking, and splitting.

Signficantly, BPD traits are NOT something you either have or don't have. Rather, every adult on the planet occasionally exhibits all nine of the BPD traits, albeit at low levels if they are emotionally healthy. Hence, BPDers differ from "Nons" only in degree, not in kind. Splitting, for example, is something you and I do many times a day -- every time we daydream or are suddenly startled.

The BPD traits become a problem only when they are so strong that they interfere with a person's ability to sustain close LTRs. Importantly, that damage can occur even when the traits are well short of satisfying 100% of the diagnostic criteria for "having BPD." Hence, for the purposes of deciding whether someone would make a good marriage candidate, it does not matter whether he has been diagnosed as having the full blown disorder. Instead, what matters is whether you will be miserable trying to live with him, always walking on eggshells to avoid triggering his anger. This is why I encourage young people to read about these traits -- so they can protect themselves by spotting the red flags (i.e., occurrences of strong BPD traits). Spotting them is easy because there is nothing subtle or nuanced about traits such as verbal abuse, temper tantrums, and inability to trust.
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Their moods change quickly SOMETIMES. Other times they can have the same mood for a few days or even weeks. Which reminds me more of bipolar.
I am not a psychologist but I did live with a BPDer exW for 15 years and I've taken care of a bipolar foster son for longer than that. Moreover, I took both of them to a long series of psychologists for 15 years. Based on those experiences, I have seen several clear differences between the two disorders.

One difference is seen in the frequency of mood changes. Bipolar mood swings typically are very slow because they are caused by gradual changes in body chemistry. They are considered rapid if as many as four occur in a year. In contrast, four BPD mood changes can easily occur in four days -- or one day. A second difference is seen in duration. Whereas bipolar moods typically last a week or two, BPD rages typically last only a few hours (and rarely as long as 36 hours).

A third difference is seen in the speed with which the mood change develops. Whereas a bipolar change typically will build slowly over two weeks, a BPD mood change typically occurs in less than a minute -- often in only 10 seconds -- because it is event-triggered by some innocent comment or action. It occurs so rapidly because you don't have to do a thing to cause the anger. It has been there, right under the skin, since early childhood. Hence, you only have to say or do some minor thing to trigger that anger's sudden release.

A fourth difference is that, whereas bipolar can be treated very successfully in at least 80% of victims by swallowing a pill, BPD cannot be managed by medication because it arises from childhood damage to the emotional core -- not from a change in body chemistry.

A fifth difference is that, whereas bipolar disorder can cause people to be irritable and obnoxious during the manic phase, it does not rise to the level of meanness and vindictiveness you see when a BPDer is splitting you black. That difference is HUGE: while a manic person may regard you as an irritation, a BPDer can perceive you as Hitler and will treat you accordingly.

Finally, a sixth difference is that a bipolar sufferer -- whether depressed or manic -- usually is able to trust you if she knows you well. Untreated BPDers, however, are unable to trust for an extended period -- even though they sometimes may claim otherwise. This lack of trust means there is no foundation on which to build a relationship. Moreover -- and I learned this the hard way -- when a person does not trust you, you can never trust them because they can turn on you at any time -- and almost certainly will.
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Old 30th December 2011, 6:35 PM   #8
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"due to genetics and/or abuse or abandonment -- that froze their emotional development at about age 3 or 4."

Is this the same for everyone with BPD? Is the age of 3 or 4 yrs the age in which this kind of thing happens? Or can it later in life, like the pre teens perhaps?

What if they had a ok childhood around 3 or 4 yrs of age, and something didn't happen, until later on like 8 or 9 year old?
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Old 30th December 2011, 7:13 PM   #9
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Is this the same for everyone with BPD? Is the age of 3 or 4 yrs the age in which this kind of thing happens? Or can it later in life, like the pre teens perhaps?
Kendrick, that's an excellent question and I don't know that anyone knows the answer for sure. I've read that the damage to the emotional core usually occurs before age 5, at which time the child is trying to develop a self image. This is why BPD damage at that young age is far more serious -- and more difficult to recover from -- that the PTSD that occurs much later in life from a rape or war time experience.

My exW and her two sisters, for example, were sexually abused by their dad for years starting around age 8. All three of them have strong BPD traits to varying degrees. Perhaps the dad had also been abusive to them in other ways at a younger age.

In any event, keep in mind that abuse and abandonment apparently greatly raise the risk for developing BPD but are unnecessary. In the large scale study I mentioned, only 70% of the BPDers reported having been abused or abandoned in childhood. This is why the general view now -- though nobody knows for certain -- is that genetics alone can cause BPD by giving the child a predisposition to being very overly sensitive. This finding has been a Godsend to many of the parents out there who did everything right in raising their children but nonetheless ended up with a child suffering from BPD.

Finally, I note that -- regardless of when the emotional damage occurs -- the BPD traits typically start showing themselves in the mid-teens, at which time the BPDer is trying to develop close LTRs outside the family. Moreover, because hormones and immaturity are rampant then, normal immature teens often exhibit very BPD type behavior. This is why, unless the traits are especially severe, psychologists generally are reluctant to try to diagnose BPD before age 16 to 18.
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Old 4th January 2012, 10:43 AM   #10
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Thanks for the replies!
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