Thursday, May 2, 2013

Actually Knowing when a Relationship is Over with BPD

A little bit ago I talked about when a Borderline loved one says they “know” a relationship isn’t going to work… but that’s really more a matter of insecurity and other issues and all sorts of other things. Today I want to talk about how someone with BPD ACTUALLY knows when a relationship is over.

Yanno. We’re not aliens, people. Yeah, maybe it’s a bit more complicated up in our brain spaces here sometimes, but really, how does anyone know when a relationship is really over?

1.      Devaluation and Splitting - Of course sometimes we might fall into a complete Devaluation and Split someone Black, Black, Black. This is probably the most clean cut, albeit one of the more painful and aggressive ways to go about knowing something is over.

a.       For instance this was my experience with Evil-Ex =P

2.      Love vs. Pain - Sometimes the pain bleeds up overtime until it’s just to painful to bear any longer. There might be love, but the pain of loving that person finally overtakes the love. This becomes a battle. Fear of losing the love but also having to live with enduring the pain that love is causing. Each person has their own breaking point.

a.       This was my experience with Friend and The One.

3.      Impulsive Rage- Sorry. Sometimes we fly off the handle. It’s unfortunate and unpredictable. This is why it’s important to develop trust, establish boundaries, and communication at the beginning of the relationship to reduce this sort of thing.

a.       This actually happened quite a bit with The One actually. Mostly because he cheated on me and was a complete douchebag.  

4.     Emptiness and Alone – Together. One of the fabulous things about being in a relationship is that you don’t usually feel quite so alone. Because you’re not! But when you start to feel alone when you’re with your loved one it can be a problem. When we start to wish you were alone when you’re with your loved one, it’s even more of a problem. When you start to make up excuses to avoid seeing your loved one… something is probably coming to an end.

a.       ***NOTE – Not during periods of depression which can also cause this. Communicate to get to the root of the problem!

5.    Boredom – Despite your best efforts you are intolerably bored. Frankly I don’t think this is completely a BPD problem. This is partially just a standard dating issue. However it may be exacerbated because many of us have issues with an Intolerance to Boredom. If our partners bore us it’s a dump worthy offense.  

6.     Just not compatible – You like someone. You’ve been together a long time. You had some initial sparkage. You had some initial chemistry. Now it’s kind of run it’s course. But you’ve gotten comfortable. You don’t want to hurt them. You don’t necessarily want to lose them. But you do want better for yourself. Hell you kind of want better for them. But you’re not really sure what to do at all. Alright, this is just where I am. Where you like someone as a person, but you know you’re ultimately not compatible in a relationship, but being BPD you get crazy anxiety at the thought of separating from the relationship so you put it off, and you put it off. You keep trying and you keep trying, dragging it on and on until they can’t help but notice that something is really wrong and all but flat and dead on the side of the road.

7.      Someone else – This is the one no one wants to mention but everyone worries about. Sometimes it happens that we meet someone else that for whatever reason is who we want to be with. This is another pretty clear cut, but not always so aggressively destructive one. When there’s someone else in the picture, well, you know when you know and it’s over.

8.     Cheating/Abuse/Act of Terror and Awful – I always have to add a catch all category for the truly nasty disasters that can happen in relationships that are not necessarily our fault and are completely valid excuses for ending a relationship.

9.      Simply not wanting to be in the relationship anymore is a perfectly valid reason for no longer being in the relationship anymore.  It’s an unfortunate fact of life that just because we want an explanation doesn’t mean that that is one or that we will get one.

Here’s the thing. When you’ve been with someone for so long and there’s no longer any chemistry, or there are too many problems, or there is a lot of hurt and pain, or anger, but you have that safety, familiarity, or the comfortableness… it’s really hard to let go. Especially for people like us.  Abandoning goes both ways and we don’t necessarily want to leave either even if we’re not happy. Which can sound silly, but being unhappy is better than being alone sometimes.

Quite often our endurance for pain and unhappiness is relative. We have such a sensitized system for pain and suffering that even if we’re hurting, if it isn’t “as bad” as something we’ve felt before, we feel like we can deal with it, because we’ve been through worse, so we put up with it. Tough it out. Because we know we can. It’s really not fair to us or our partners though. Especially as we’re often the cause of our own suffering.

Now! Here’s the tricky part! Stick to your guns! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually managed to break up with someone; Had every valid reason. Written lists. Actual lists. Pros. Cons. Or just general misery. Hate even. Loathing. I’m pretty sure I was actually able to channel the Dark Side and Force Choke Evil-Ex at one point… and I still took him back. The anxiety and panic that comes from being alone can be awe inspiring. The tears, apologies, and emotions that bubble to the surface when one or the other of us has convinced the other to try again… and succeeded. ::sigh:: I think I’ve found the solution to this though. To not getting back together that is. We’ll get to that tomorrow. 

How about you? How can you tell when you’re ready to leave a relationship? 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Aversion to Touch and Borderline Personality Disorder

Something I’ve been experiencing lately is an aversion to being touched. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m losing my attachment to Tech Boy or what, but I’ve certainly experienced this with romantic partners in the past when I’ve fallen out of touch with them before. I’ve actually gone long, long periods of time when I haven’t been able to stand people touching me.

Most people would assume that it’s because you’re just not attracted to them anymore. But as is typical with BPD there’s often a little more to it.

Aversive to Touch

Most sites I’ve seen will tell you that : “Borderlines eventually transfer negativity onto their mates; that is, they lose love, withdraw, and become aversive to touch and sex.” What exactly does that mean though? It doesn’t “just happen”. It’s not like there is No Reason. So what’s going on? Because to just say this and leave it at that, is a cop out.  

I’m going to approach this today as something that comes and goes, or something that eventually manifests, but wasn’t originally there.  I’m not talking about Borderline sexual preferences of sexual avoidance or reckless behavior. It more like when the need for attention suddenly becomes something it no longer is.

He/She’s Just Not That Into You

Sometimes, there is that unfortunate symptom of human relationships where they occasionally fail, people fall out of attraction, and we lose that physical draw to one another. It happens. It’s unfortunate but it happens.

Eating Disorders/Body Image/BDD

Sometimes with us, especially with eating disordered women and men, or those of us with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, if we’re having a “bad day”, being touched reminds of the “flaws” we see and feel. It reminds us of the fats and flubs that we desperately try to burn off, cover up, starve away, and hide. Being touched can be repulsive. Let’s be clear though. It’s not your touch that’s repulsive. It’s that you have to touch something so repulsive that is repulsive. Until we can regain that confidence or that grace or whatever we need to get ourselves back on track to feel okay sometimes we just need to be left to ourselves.

Abuse and Trauma

Other times it’s important to remember that there is often a history of abuse. You may not know about this history, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Just because you don’t know about it, doesn’t mean you can’t trigger it.

“Many disordered personalities show a splitting and projection. When a client becomes aversive to being touched by a spouse, we can assume that an old abuse is being reactivated, creating a withdrawal of libido from sexual activity with the once-valued partner. The mate may get seduced into helping fix her spouse's serious problems out of unrealistic altruistic reasons. This is common to many psychological disorders. When someone has a serious personality disturbance, expecting an unqualified, untrained spouse to try to fix or correct the person's long standing illness will have disastrous results. This is especially true because emotional involvement with a disturbed person should not include quasi roles of the pseudo-patient and healing-spouse partner. Relationships and marriages do not heal personality, mood, or anxiety disorders. The clinically disturbed person should seek out a professionally trained therapist and not project the need to be cured onto a partner. When transferences erupt into full bloom in these kinds of pseudo-relationships, the consequences are quite unpleasant.” [1]

When there is any amount of sexual or physical abuse in a person’s past this wound may have been triggered or reactivated in some way and is somehow being projected onto the partner. This can be the cause of sexual or physical withdrawal.  

Even if you know that you’ve been triggered, even if you see it, even if you think you’re prepared, you can’t always predict how it’s going to affect you, and you can’t always stop the effects from hitting you. Meh. Take me for instance.  I told Tech Boy about what happened with The One (rape) a couple weeks back. I sort of dropped it out of the blue. The segue was actually appropriate but I hadn’t prepared myself to have this conversation, pretty much ever, with him. He actually handled it pretty appropriately. It’s 3 weeks later and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about. I haven’t been able to contemplate having sex or even being touched at all since. I hung out with Tech Boy last night, I enjoy his company but I didn’t want to be touched at all. I try, but it feels really uncomfortable. I want nothing to do with anyone. I’ve seriously been contemplating not having relationships at all anymore. I’m sure it’s just a phase of thought that will pass, but it’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about.  I digress.

It’s hard. I’ve been in therapy for so long. I’ve talked it through my sexual and physical trauma. I’ve processed it. I’ve dealt with it. At least I always think I’ve dealt with it. But I’m never sure I’ll have ever completely dealt with it because it clearly still affects me. I can feel myself distancing. I hear my speech speeding up. My shoulders hunching up. My words saying that it’s in the past, but I see my hands coming up like I’m physically trying to push the memories away. It’s deceptive. It’s subtle. My front mind. The mind that wants the put on a brave face and be strong and show no vulnerability just wants to wave it all aside and say it’s in the past. The hind mind where everything resides in shadow and safety knows better though. The wound is still there. It’s healing, but it’s not all healed. I’m not the most careful of people, especially not with myself.

I tell myself that I’m okay, that I can deal with this, that I can talk about this, that I can be okay. But then when I’m alone, or when I’m in more intimate situations, my emotions and my emotional response recoil. Clearly I’m not responding the way I want to. This is the disconnected way that is how we often live. The way that we WANT to live, and the way that is the unintended RESULT to what we wish we had.

This is in no way the first time this has happened. This is a relationship I feel pretty safe in. Imagine if it’s a relationship where safety hasn’t been established yet. Or a relationship where you feel actively unsafe or are actively abused with past abused concurrently triggered and compounded. It can be so complicated.


Not only do I feel empty and alone. I want to be alone. I don’t want people to see me. I don’t want people to look at me. I definitely don’t want anyone to touch me. Nothing is comforting and when people trying it just makes me feel worse. Compounding the guilt.

Devaluation and Pushing Away

Then there’s  ye olde Borderline stand by. Devaluations and Pushing Away. I mention this last because this is often a bit more obvious. If there’s a lot of conflict happening. If your loved one is cold and stand offish. If they’re picking fights; baiting you; and generally being confrontational then this is probably what’s going on.

Has anyone else experienced this? What are some of your reasons? 

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