grif -

grif -
Location
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
Birthday
September 17
Bio
One of my favorite places to go is about 12 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean...in my little 20 ft. skiff. The clear water is a deep emerald color and the sunlight bounces around and shimmers randomly. I meet survivor sea turtles, bow-riding dolphin, silent sharks, giant rays rocketing out of the sea and backflipping, schools of porgies, sea robins, slashing blues and Spanish mackerel, the occasional whale, and stray birds. I love the quiet and solitude and vastness. I am a way too veteran educator - special education teacher, high school principal, college professor and some other fun waystops. A political junkie, a cowboy in a previous life, a lover of synchronicity in daily life...meditation and prayer, and a believer that the best days are still ahead. My plan is to finish strong. ************************************ I love following politics and current events, but they all take second place to watching a hockey game. I write occasional Op-Ed pieces - usually on educational issues. My two kids are the true loves of my life. ************************************

Grif -'s Links

MY LINKS
MY LINKS
FEBRUARY 15, 2009 12:40PM

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD):"It'll Make You Crazy"

Rate: 38 Flag

When I was ten years old I had occasional thoughts that I was “so glad that I lived in the house I did and had the parents I had.”  Other families looked weird and different and “not right.”  Both my parents loved me as best they could.  Only later would I separate enough emotionally to begin to understand how my mom’s Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) diagnosis affected me and my brothers. I have written some personal encounters with BPD previously if you’re interested (I Married My Mother).  Also, I have included below a brief background of how I got interested professionally in this subject.This post is a description of some characteristics of persons with BPD, and how their behavior affects others. These behavioral effects often include confusion, anger, hurt, and fear in us (the others).

 

  Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior… People with BPD often have highly unstable patterns of social relationships. While they can develop intense but stormy attachments, their attitudes towards family, friends, and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike). Thus, they may form an immediate attachment and idealize the other person, but when a slight separation or conflict occurs, they switch unexpectedly to the other extreme and angrily accuse the other person of not caring for them at all.” (NIMH). 

 

Persons suffering from BPD are prickly characters.  Kriesman has described this well in I Hate You - Don't Leave Me.  BPD is "emotional hemophilia; [a borderline] lacks the clotting mechanism needed to moderate his spurts of feeling. Stimulate a passion, and the borderline emotionally bleeds to death." Much the same is true of people with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Prick the entitlement that comes with narcissism, and WATCH OUT!!  Marsha M. Linehan  (credited with developing Dialectical Behavior Therapy – DBT) has described BPD as, "People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement."   

 There are several distinguishing factors that make this disorder so maddening for those around it (the others).  The official diagnostic criteria for BPD may be found in the   Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - IV . These criteria are included below (scroll to the bottom for the nine criteria); however, this post highlights only several that result in so much difficulty for the “others (us).”

 

 Three of the most common characteristics of BPD that drive others “crazy” include: 

 

1)      The “good-bad flip flop thing.”  As mentioned above, these persons tend to project attributes of either “you are a good person”, and hence my friend, or, you are a “bad person” and hence my enemy.  They love you one moment and seem to hate you the next.  The good phase can last for days or weeks, and nothing will happen, but all of a sudden you have become the “bad person.”  And you didn’t do anything.  The flip-flopping of good-bad can also occur in a matter of minutes or hours.  There is no arguing with someone in these moments.  There is no understanding it.  You (the other) did not cause it and you can’t fix it.  Best solution – remove yourself from the scene. This good-bad projection also often results in the adults around the person with BPD start getting mad at one another.  The good person thinks they can fix things and the bad person thinks they’ve been slighted…and pretty soon they are fighting with one another. A good character disordered (including BPD) person revels in this.  They love it when those around them are anxious and in turmoil. And then the BPD switches roles and it really gets interesting. It’s very seductive.  I can get sucked into a BPD’s projections totally without realizing it.  I’ve even seen this dynamic play out in our own OS living room.

 

2)      The “black-white thing.” Persons with BPD tend to see things as all one way or the other.  They do not see shades of “grey.”  They do not tolerate ambiguity well.  It is either right, or it is wrong.  And, they are usually right, and you are usually wrong.

 

3)      The “south of the border thing.” Persons with BPD get a little crazy when they are under pressure. Their reality testing capacity diminishes.  They are prone to doing hurtful and sometimes dangerous things. Their behavior can be very irrational, and of course it affects everyone around them. Confusing also is what constitutes pressure for a person with BPD.  It can be a misperceived slight that throws them over the edge. It can be a regression brought on by a serious issue, e.g., illness, alcohol/drug use, job loss, or something minor and mundane like losing a game of checkers, losing an item in the house, etc. Nevertheless, once they are under pressure they regress to a non-reality state pretty rapidly.  This may not be genuine psychosis, but it sure as hell isn’t rational.  Best strategy is to remove yourself from the scene.

 

That’s it in a nutshell.  BPD can make those around it feel as if they are the problem.  Persons with BPD thrive best when others are anxious and fretful. They cannot tolerate these feelings themselves and will immediately project them onto others (e.g., loved ones).  The dynamics can be subtle, seductive and hard to spot.  Best current treatment include therapy (DBT), and some medications can help.  The treatment aspects are a book in themselves (and there are many).

 

************************************************************************

 

DSM-IV

Traits involving emotions:

1. Shifts in mood lasting only a few hours.

 2. Anger that is inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable. Sensitivity to criticism or rejection.  

Traits involving behavior:

3. Self-destructive acts, such as self-mutilation or suicidal threats and gestures that happen more than once.

4. Two potentially self-damaging impulsive behaviors. These could include alcohol and other drug abuse, compulsive spending, gambling, eating disorders, shoplifting, reckless driving, compulsive sexual behavior.

Traits involving identity

5. Marked, persistent identity disturbance shown by uncertainty in at least two areas. These areas can include self-image, sexual orientation, career choice or other long-term goals, friendships, values.

6. Chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom

Traits involving relationships

7. Unstable, chaotic intense relationships characterized by splitting This is the good-bad thing described abov)

 8. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment  Alternating clinging and distancing behaviors (I Hate You, Don't Leave Me).

 9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms This is the “south of the border” thing

************************************************************************

Miscellaneous attributes of people with BPD:

  • People with BPD are sometimes bright, witty, funny,” life of the party.”
  • They may have problems with “object constancy.” When a person leaves (even temporarily), they may have a problem recreating or remembering feelings of love that were present between themselves and the other. Often, persons with BPD want to keep something belonging to the loved one around during separations.
  • They frequently have difficulty tolerating aloneness, even for short periods of time. Anxiety is perceived as very threatening.
  • Their lives may be a chaotic jumble of job losses, interrupted educational pursuits, broken engagements and relationships, hospitalizations, drug/alcohol abuse.
  • Many have a background of childhood physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or physical/emotional neglect.

************************************************************************Personal Background Information

Throughout my career I have studied and worked with children/adolescents with so-called personality disorders (aka character disorders, conduct disorders, etc.). I have leaned a lot about how to deal effectively with their disturbing behavior. I went to college and began to develop an interest in “abnormal psychology” (loved those Psych courses) and in teaching/working with children.  I remember in my sophomore year hearing a lecture by a physician who specialized in young people with mental retardation (aka Developmental Disabilities).  I was hooked and began working at a nearby state hospital and my career “was on.”  I worked in an adult psychiatric unit for several years, and then, in a synchronous moment, got a job as a teacher assistant at a residential school for children with emotional/behavioral problems.  Loved it.  Loved the kids – still do.  Got a couple more degrees (Ph. D. in Special Education) along the way and have spent 30+ years working with kids with severe behavioral problems.  Today I understand completely what drove me into this field.  Back then I just found it interesting and fun – and still do.

Your tags:

TIP:

Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:

Comments

Type your comment below:
That was very educational. Fortunately, persons with Borderline Personality Disorders are treatable. You also gave very good advice on how to deal with the hateful phase of the disorder (get out of Dodge until the mood passes).

You mentioned Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I think it would be interesting to compare the two disorders; BPD which is treatable and NPD which, for all practical purposes, is not treatable.
I had a boss with BPD. She made my life pure hell until I had to quit.
Gosh, you just described a relative of mine!
Hey, Grif. Congrat.s on surviving childhood with a borderline mother. Whew!
I'm working on my Masters in clinical psych and I'm at the place where I find myself (incorrectly) diagnosing all my friends and family.....and myself. "oh, is that me? i'm like that sometimes...do I need to be medicated?!" ;)
thank you. am eternally looking for a reason why the eldest HATES me, her sister, & her grandmother. this may partially may explain why.
Grif,
Amazes me how the great minds on OS can give me insights I do not get in my classes which purport to teach me these things.
Had a MIL with narcissism and know, first hand, how destructive their condition can be to others.
Thank you!!
Good information. This particular disorder is the most difficult of all others to deal with as the behaviors are just too extreme. I should know, I married one.
Had an eight year marriage to a woman with BPD. Having an understanding of the condition never helped me deal with her effectively. Never knew if I would be walking on water each day or be evil incarnate. Neither position was a comfortable place to be.

I do not pry into my ex-wife's personal business, but her condition has always concerned me, because we have 3 children together. Over the last year something dramatic has changed. Her treatment of our children, me, her mother and even my parents has change completely! After more than 10 years with almost no contact with my parents, she has called them to apologize for her treatment of them going back almost 2 decades.

Our children are happy because it has become clear that their Mom's behavior has become more predictable and reasonable. She no longer speaks negatively of me to our children and has begun advocating on my behalf with the children. I only wish these changes had been accomplished while there was still hope for the marriage, but better late than never.

If I remember correctly, Time magazine did a very recent article concerning one doctors successful treatment method of Borderlines. I believe that the doctor's theory included the idea that people with BPD reach a point where they (wish I had better words) out grow the syndrome.

As bad as Borderline made my marriage, it made my divorce and post divorce life a living hell. The passing of my ex-wife's symptoms has been an incredible relief!
I'm a survivor of a mother with BPD. Of course she thinks everyone else has something wrong with THEM so she has not sought treatment or has not noticed that the common denominator in bad relationships is her.

I knew something was going wrong when she was in her mid fifties, it accelerated and her moments of good mood began being outnumbered by the "i hate you you're ruining my life if you would just come visit more, answer your phone more, etc, I would be happy" moments. It began consuming every spare minute I had, and I had two very young children she was beginning to expect me to neglect in favor of her. That's when I cut off contact, and boy did all hell break loose! I had to get order of protection and finally my nightmares have stopped. I WISH she had been one that was treatable but unfortunately, she still holds that she is the queen of the universe and is fault free, and a victim at that. Seriously. Just as you think you have reconciled.... watch out! The venom will fly. Now she is trying to "split" my two daughters from me but all I can do is trust they have good judgement. Splitting is her forte and she has developed it to a fine art. At least I protected my kids from her until they were old enough to think it through for themselves.
BPD central is very very helpful and people with relatives with BPD will find comfort in knowing there are others out there with this.
The truly sad aspect is, they are tortured souls as they have no personality of their own. They only see themselves in reflections of others... and they way they want others to act, look, or speak. The are shells of themselves. So sad.
Appreciated this informative post. Continually amazed at the extent to which so very many people in one's daily sphere are mentally disturbed. Posts like this, and the researchers who study such disorders, can help the sane find their way out of a snake pit in which they do not belong.
GREAT post George. We owe it to people to share information on such things.

Kudos to you again.
(rated)
This was interesting Grif. Hope you post more on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. What is Rule 62?
My "X" was diagnosed with BPD, OCD and NBD! It was hell to live with someone like this, as his moods would shift from affection, adoration and generosity to hateful, irritable, frustatred and abusive behaviors. There was a baby brought into this marriage so that made him even more over the top with his mood swings and increased abuse. He wanted the divorce, went elsewhere for sexual gratification, got two attorneys and quickly desired to reverse this by begging for forgiveness and keep me in the marriage. After the abuse became physical and aimed at my daughters, there was no turning back. That made him more abusive to me and to himself. He attempted suicide 3 times, was in lock down in the psychiatric ward each of them, threats, 911 calls and extreme fear for me and my girls, it is now 17 years later and this post likely brings up too much crap for me to elaborate. I never saw it coming and "they" hide these difficiencies well. Scariest shit of my life.
After nearly two years of dealing with a boss with BPD, I am finally breaking free from her at the end of this month. During one of her manic episodes, she swore at me repeatedly and ordered me out of the office. The next day I returned and she was sobbing-- begging for my forgiveness, begging me not to leave her. This is just a MINOR example of what we've gone through in the last two years. She's been to therapy, but quit after a couple of sessions because it "wasn't working." I know now that the therapist probably touched a nerve and she refused to acknowledge it. Two weeks left and I am walking on egg shells waiting for the last blow up. Thanks for this post Grif--it's nice to know I'm not crazy.
I have always wondered about BPD. I was prone to most but the cutting behaviors as a young adult. I REALLY had trouble being alone. Fortunately, I have been married for 14 years, and that stability has gone a long way to cure my tendency towards anger and splitting off relationships with others. I like to be alone now, which is very different!

Just had a four year business partnership break off, and was happy not to feel the "crazies" that may have insued if that had happened in my past.

Also, don't do the black/white thing anymore. Part of that attitude came from being a Catholic believing that a thing is either right or wrong -- no shades of grey -- either sin or non-sin. I have no patience anymore for people intensely attached to a black/white view of life...Thanks for your post.
Thanks for the info. This explains a lot of people I have met in my life.
This is a very good description and a very worthy subject. The saddest thing about BPD for me is how deeply it's rooted (most of the time) in their childhood experiences of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

The movie "Margot at the Wedding" is a simply wonderful character study of two sisters with BPD - going beyond simply displaying them as two-dimensional personality traits, but as fully realized people struggling with tendencies they can not fully control. Beyond anything, people with BPD need understand and yet their behavior makes providing that understanding a difficult task.
I'm going to a concert later today with a friend who suffers from BPD. Everything you say is true. I had no contact with her for a number of years and in the past few months I've allowed her back into my life with predictable results. The good news is that she's moving away so I probably won't see her for quite a while. I've known her and her family for a long, long time and don't feel as though I can just abandon her, but I am very, very tempted at times.
Very informative post. Having lived with mental illness (bipolar disorder) in a family member I can attest to the need to understand these illnesses so as not to simply despise the person because of their anti-social tendencies. The more I know, the more I can keep the issues at arm's length, recognize them for what they are and not be hurt by encounters with a loved one.
I’ve been gone all afternoon and just getting here for a few minutes. The comments that everyone has written are very much appreciated. BPD is such an insidious condition.
I only have time to respond to a few right now, but I will get back to everyone.

Stewie – thanks for commenting that “it’s treatable.” We always need hope. And I will take you up on the NPD unless someone beats me to it.

Closure – nice to meet you. Glad you were able to escape the boss even though it meant quitting.

Malusinka – I honestly think that we all have relatives with BPD, or friends. It’s not that uncommon.

Dharma – always good to see you. As for diagnosing others and yourself, I understand. The thing is that our defense mechanisms serve a good purpose and are necessary, until we use them too much. Then our strength becomes our problem. Let’s see, I am diagnosing you as…a tree hugging, dog lover who is into meditation and yoga and is very bright and funny. How’d I do?

Will get back to the rest of you later this evening. I so much appreciate your comments here.
Very helpful. My ex was diagnosed with BPD, but his was relatively minor, especially when compared to his schizo-affective disorder, bipolar, major anxiety, severe depression, occasional psychosis . . . and he was willing to work on his issues and face them -- I then dated someone who was severely BPD and stupid me, I didn't know what the problem was. He knew he wasn't right, but he wouldn't admit it and get the right kind of help, which makes all the difference.
This is a really good example of what seperates os from the Huffington post---people who know what they are talking about---like you!

I spent the first several years of my career teaching special ed and being a coundelor on an inpatient wared and BPD was all over the place.

And you paintedd the picture here perfectly. Nice job!
Informative and educational. A few years ago, I realized that my ex-husband fit many of the characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I spent a number of years wondering if I was crazy. Thanks for posting.
linda m – nice to meet you. Sounds rough with the eldest.

steph – always a pleasure. That narcissism stuff is scary and so hard to deal with. And your “great minds” has me o’ blushing.

spud – the parallelism of our lives scares me. I trust that you are doing well.

sg – thanks for sharing part of your story here. I get the living hell part. So glad that there has been improvement. Stay in touch if you wish.

Gayle – wow, with a mom like that who needs… I totally understand this story about protecting the kids. I did the same thing here too. As you said so well, they are “tortured souls.”

Monsieur – always a pleasure to have your company. So much disturbance on the planet.

Greg – Thanks for reading/commenting.

hy – always enjoy your company. I bet MTK knows a lot about that DBT stuff. Rule 62 is an AA story that basically means “Don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Cathy – wow. A real nightmare for sure. And people with these personality disorders can be so different at times that one never sees it coming. Thanks for sharing part of your story here.

newsie – sorry to hear about this deal. Leaving it really is often the best and only solution. And the “egg shell” metaphor is one I use all the time myself. Nice meeting you.

Lalucas – thanks for stopping by. Sounds as if you have made some great changes over the years. Appreciate your comments.

Trudge – the rooms have lots of this personality type. Of course, so does the rest of the world. Good to see you again.

Yablonowitz – Nice to meet you. You have said it well. Appreciate the film tip. Will check it out. Hang in there in Miissoula.

Emma – I hope the concert thing was fun tonight. Always good talking with you.

Jim – you always say it so well, and so compassionately.

Karin – That NPD thing is a nightmare. Don’t know how/why I survived it – maybe to help others? Who knows? Good to see you.

Monique – thanks for coming by. So good to see you. The ex sounds like a troubled soul.

Chicago Guy – High praise. Thank you, and thanks for commenting.

M B – Thanks for stopping in. This behavior can make us think we are crazy. Been there.
Your posts never fail to be either entertaining or interesting. This particular post caught my eye for personal reasons. Back in 1971 I had recently gone through induction for military service; although I knew that I would never have to serve in Vietnam since I'd been granted a conscientious objector status after I'd been coached by a fellow named John Butler, a southern Baptist minister working as a campus chaplin at Washington State University. He had every volumn of Paul Tillich's "Systematic Theology" in his office along with many other books. Butler accompanied me when I presented my arguments before the local draft board in Pullman.

So, I was then expected to perform alternative service (which can take many different forms); but in my mind, I would be working in a VA hospital assisting crippled soldiers sent back from Vietnam. This thought both horrified and depressed me.

I'd been seeing a psychiatrist for a problem with serious depression and on one of my visits I told him about this difficulty I had in coming to grips with what I would be expected to do by the United States government. He wrote a note and gave it to me, telling me that this would take care of the problem. I later read the note without comprehending what it said: he had diagnosed me as having Borderline Personality Disorder.

I didn't know what this was, nor did I trouble myself to look it up in a medical reference book to find out what it meant. I already knew that I had many difficulties, only one of which was depression.

About five years later I got married, and one day my wife and I were in Spokane. I decided to phone this psychiatrist whom I had trusted and admired and let him know that I was now married and quite happy with how my life was going. I called and spoke to his wife, he wasn't at home at the time. I suppose she passed the message along to him later.

My path to adult maturity has not taken a direct nor leisurely course. I've had several setbacks, one of which I soon found out was the marriage mentioned above. Had it not been for my on-going habit of reflection and study of philosophy and methods of reasoning, I no doubt would be in very sorry shape today indeed.

I do not believe that all mental disorders are necessarily permanent. And even the ones which arise from physiological factors, particularly brain chemistry, can be combated providing the person hamstrung or afflicted by such a condition is willing to work to resolve the problem and form a better life.

But as you point out so clearly, a person who has any mental disorder, the seriousness of which is at least that of BPD, typically is found within a family-setting of some sort, as opposed to being altogether isolated and cut off from all forms of social contact. And the social dynamic found in these family-settings is always unique and highly significant, particularly for the individual in question, as the diagnosis of any mental disorder will always, always cast that person into question in eyes of others.
Grif: I had time to go back to this one. It does seem as if a minority of us are sane. That is true! BPD, along with other personality disorders, are a maladaptation to stress. Now, other people may choose other maladaptive measures to control their world: drinking, driving too fast, sex with random people, or other stuff that's bad for them. BPD sufferers choose to use an illusion of CONTROL to aid their suffering. They never learn that this control is never satisfying and always destructive.
That's my wisdom for today. I find it fascinating, but long distance, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for keeping this topic alive. I almost harmed myself until I realized I may be crazy but I'm not the one with the warped world.
thank you so much for this and for the work you've done in this field. i was raised by two npd, one was a shrink. bpd is also a possibility for both of them because they never ever would have gone for treatment and DBT wasn't available yet. i have many regrets and a big one is that because of my shrink father having such a HUGE investment in my becoming an MD and a shrink too, i did everything in my power to do anything else. i've realized, since i too got a handle on my early years, that my insight might have made me a very good counselor of some kind. 20/20 hindsight, of course.

and before i finally got the bipolar 2 diagnosis, i was often marked as BPD and treated with much disdain. i just knew that it wasn't bpd. and the bipolar 2 makes perfect sense to me. you can create a whole lot of chaos when you have serious ups and downs. :) as i know you know. my damaged brain now does make me somewhat BPD and i know it and do a lot of apologizing.

thank you so much again. this is fascinating. i'm so sorry that you had the kind of mother that i did. i wouldn't wish it on anyone, even people i loathe, well, maybe w, cheney and rove but they have clearly been extremely damaged somewhere along the line.

sorry for rambling on. love love love and gratitude and rated.
my sister has bpd. she has no concept of boundaries. she is obsessed with my family, my son and me, and projects all kinds of issues onto us. she was actually the one who made my ex take me to court to get full custody on the basis of her accusations of 'child abuse'. it was very scary and traumatic to me.

staying well away from her has so far been my only way of dealing with her. she recently sent me a new email urging me to seek counceling in dealing with my son. there is just no getting through to her that the issues she perceives are projections and in any case i do not wish her interference in my family.

my wish is to live in peace with everyone around me, yet in her case so far it has meant, unfortunately, not interacting with her at all. i miss the fun we could also have as kids, but just thinking of having to deal with that blind, dumb, remorseless and stubborn interference sends shivers down my spine..
I have to comment here since I have a BPD. Most of the comments here deal with how horrible it is to deal with a friend, relative or spouse who is borderline. There doesn't seem to be a lot of understanding about what goes on inside the person with the disorder. I'm so sorry that so many of you think that this thing is funny. It isn't. It is, in fact, horrible. The emotional upheaval is a constant source of terror to me. I know what is going on and I am only able to control it by telling myself that the feelings are not genuine and that they are manifestations of my condition.
I spent years harming myself physically and emotionally. I know that these periods were harmful to those others in my life. I was diagnosed in 1979 while in the Navy, it didn't seem to matter to them. I also don't have much faith in treatment. I have been through so many different peoples idea of treatment and none have done much to remove the feelings or "cure" me. When the disorder asserts itself I am unconsolable. I know that the things that I feel are not true and hope that those that I love will not find it to much to bear.
Those of you who have had to deal with a person who is a borderline need to understand that if it is hell for you that it is a thousand times worse for the person who has the disorder. That the emotions are not your fault and that a large number of us know what is happening and are powerless to control it. We are not monsters who don't care about how we treat others.
This post was so informative. I grew up with a BPD mother, and I would say I have some of those traits, too.

Growing up with a caregiver who is totally unpredictable in how she treats you, and also needs more from you emotionally than you are capable of giving, creates real trust issues and feelings of no real self. The result is that relationships are shadowed with anxiety and fear of what to expect next. The fact that "it" (love) was sometimes there and sometimes not makes it all the more difficult, because you want that love so badly, so you don't close off, but because you are not closed, when the sickness/hate cycles in, as a sensitive child you are devatstated again (and again and again).

It feels to me like lying on a railroad track, and wondering if someone will pick you up or stand and point at you and say, "You deserve to be run over because you make me feel bad." I can intellectually know that I did not make them feel bad, and I can know that I don't have to put myself on the track, but when they do choose to pick me up, it is love.

Okay, okay, so I am working on staying off the track. Thanks for this timely and helpful piece. I also quietly agree with bobbot's sentiment.

Rated.
Nice post. There is a complexity to this issue, and I don't love using the label, but for simplicity's sake, I always think "BPD" when I'm interacting with someone who takes me by surprise (in an upsetting way) with a sudden mood shift. The phrase that always comes to mind is "turning on a dime."
Padraig – thanks for coming all the way over here. I agree that the need for empathy is huge with this issue, and truly, we all do know someone suffering the effects of BPD.

DGS – Good to see you again too my friend. Thanks for sharing that personal story here. Your comment about the impermanence gives us all hope. Appreciated.

Gayle – thanks for coming back. And clearly this is an important issue for so many of us.

Theo – thanks for sharing some of your personal story here. Very touching. And you even got Cheney and Rove into it. Nice!

Nada – sounds like a rough deal with your sister. The staying away thing is hard, but usually the only thing that works.

JK – Thanks for coming by and reading and commenting. Always geed to see you.

Bobbot – Nice to met you. Your personal comments and views are greatly appreciated here. I agree that we don’t hear much about how it feels to be a person with BPD, and know that something isn’t right, but not be able to control it.

“We are not monsters who don't care about how we treat others.” A very powerful reminder. Thanks.

SM – some of your growing up experiences remind me of my own. I appreciated your railroad track analogy.

Risa – you are exactly right. This is a very complex issue. There are as many manifestations of BPD as there are people, and at the same time there are some fundamental similarities. Thanks for reading and commenting.
This sounds like the perfect description of my ex and his mother. It is amazing, but everything you state above fits the whole family to a tee. Perhaps it started with the mom and trickled down to the rest of the family. For so many years, I thought it was me. I am glad I was able to separate, but it was very, very painful.

Very informative. Thank you for sharing this. :)
Hi mama - glad you were able to separate from them. thanks for the read and the comment. Happy President's Day !
Yes. I thank God everyday for helping me separate. This info would have really been helpful to me then. What a painful process it was. By you sharing, hopefully, it will help others caught in such a dilemma.

Happy President's Day to you too! :)
celestial elf - thanks for stopping by here. Best I can offer for aggressive people is to avoid them (seriously). I hope others will find their way to London Snowman.
Thanks for this post Grif. I used to be married to a BPD sufferer. There was little information on what that meant available at the time. I was only told that it meant she had a bad personality, which was already quite clear.

The symptoms you describe are spot on with my experience, especially the flip-flopping. The last straw came after a coke fueled all night flip-flop session in which I alternated between being the biggest mistake of her life and her only reason to live.

The 2 1/2 years I spent with her were easily the low point of my life and very nearly destroyed me. Some information like this, so that I at least understood what I was dealing with, would have been most helpful.
Hi Cap'n. Sounds like a brutal experience. Been there once. Never again. Gonna read your EP so your momma will be proud of her young'n.
I was raised by a father with BPD, and I'm still dealing with the psychological fallout.

His rages could be set off by something so innocuous as someone "looked at him funny," (often me). What made life so hard was that on the outside, he was so charming and indeed the life of the party.

But behind closed doors, I was the target of his ruthlessness, and I felt I deserved it, because he seemed to love everyone else so much, and everyone loved him!

It's a tragic illness for all involved. Thank you for writing about it.