Randi Kreger has brought the concerns of people who have a family member with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to an international forefront through her best-selling books, informative website, and popular online family support community Welcome to Oz.
Accepting What you Cannot Change
I thought that if I worked harder, more often, kept the house a bit cleaner, surely he would love me. But he didn't. Giving up hope saved my life.
The spouse of a high conflict personality
Like alcoholism, a primary symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder (and Narcissisic Personality Disorder) is denying that it is a problem. An alcoholic will drink until he blacks out every night and proclaim he is "fine," a person who shows all nine BPD traits can and will deny the disorder's existence in himself--but curiously may find it in many other people in his life.
But the BP isn't the only one in denial. While some family members and friends are relieved to discover BPD, some think of the disorder as a temporary setback that will disappear with time, with more love or the right kind of loving, or by some other means that doesn't involve time, hard work in therapy and perhaps medication.
Many non-BPs try to change the BP--or they try to change themselves to meet the BP's ever-changing requirements. But as soon as they complete their task and bring back the broomstick of the Wicked Witch, the great and powerful Oz will have yet another impossible task to be fulfilled. For good measure, he will deny he ever asked for the broomstick in the first place.
If someone you love has BPD, following are a few basic outcomes:
* You deny that BPD is a problem and do nothing. The status quo reigns.
* The BP denies that BPD is a problem. Ditto, except that you go nuts trying to change him.
* You accept the person as they are and allow the disorder to claim the happiness in your life as well as the BP's.
* You accept the person as they are, but protect yourself with the techniques in this web site, my book, or the many other books on techniques. You may work with a therapist.
* You and/or the BP acknowledge the existence of BPD and learn all about it on an intellectual level. Change may or may not result.
* The BP learns about BPD to accuse you of having it, and/or the non-BP concentrates on the BP's disorder to avoid looking at their own issues, such as codependency.
* The BP acknowledges there is a problem, but does very little to accomplish lasting change. One common way to do this is to seek out an inexperienced therapist who will not dig very deep, who is unfamiliar with the disorder, or who can be conned by the client.
* The BP will acknowledge she has a problem and will work hard with a good psychiatric staff to overcome the disorder--a process that may take two or three years. The non-BP hopefully learns ways in which he can reinforce therapy and confront his own issues, if appropriate.
Of course, everyone wants an immediate awakening, miracle cure, or a pill or therapy that will work overnight and turn everything all around.I haven't personally seen such a miracle in 18 years, but I have seen non-BPs witness their children being emotionally abused while the other parent waits for this miracle to happen. While this method may be selected by adults, when children are involved I believe the capable parent's primary duty is to his children.
Non-BP's, being human, want the BP to understand them, validate their experiences, apologize, empathize, and stop borderline behaviors that threaten the relationship. People with BPD may or may not ask, but most of them want their friends and family members to understand their pain, fulfill their needs, and assuage their feelings of emptiness, worthlessness, pain and other painful borderline feelings.
Some of these desires are normal for any relations--for example, empathy, love, and validation. But no matter how much you love someone, you cannot make them love themselves and make the best choices for themselves. This is one of the hardest things for both non-BPs and borderlines to accept. The person with the disorder must, with help from a clinician, support groups and other resources, conquer their own demons.blog comments powered by Disqus
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