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Old 10-09-2009, 11:14 PM   #51
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I have volumes of issues.

I never imagined anyone could possibly understand what I went through as a child (and adult). Not because of my arrogance about myself or lack of understanding about the situations of others... because the hell I went/go through is just something that isn't in the popular culture. No book, tv, or movie comes close to what I lived.

Then, I found a messageboard with a section for children of parents who suffered from borderline personality disorder. It was like I was looking into a mirror. I've never felt like anyone else really got it before then... and even now, I'm not active, but I know if I go back to that board, I can vent and people will REALLY understand what I mean because it's their life too.

Seeing others has opened my eyes so much since I found that board in 2004... and I'm not all-better yet, but I'm MUCH more realistic about my family and their limitations. I'm also much less punishing toward myself about all of it. I think that the power of connecting with a group of people who live the same experience is probably one of the turning points of my life.

So, I'm with you guys even though the situations vary... I've felt a lot of the same things and just wanted to reach out and offer hugs. Not having a family to support you is the worst feeling I've ever felt and even after 30 years of successful endeavors, I still feel like a complete and total failure because I haven't managed to secure the one thing that most people have without any effort at all... a family's love and kindness.
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Old 10-10-2009, 02:23 PM   #52
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Interesting post about BPD....I have heard of it before but wasn't entirely sure what it is. I googled up some information about it.

Chattery, I grew up with a mentally ill mother so even thought it's different on some levels that when you had, I still understand the neglect, confusion, shock and frustration you may have known as a child....that you carried into adulthood.

My mom can be the coldest, meanest, cruelest people to me that I have ever known because anything she does is made worse by the fact that she is my mother. Then she can "flip" and sometimes surprise me with concern and understanding.....it can confuse me and I feel a guard go up whenever this occurs....because I know it won't last.

I have learned to take the good with the bad.....it's definitely made me stronger in many ways as I make my way in the world as an adult.


Quote:
Borderline personality disorder

Overview

Borderline personality disorder is a condition in which a person makes impulsive actions, and has an unstable mood and chaotic relationships.
Symptoms

Relationships with others are intense and unstable. They swing wildly from love to hate and back again. People with BPD will frantically try to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

BPD patients may also be uncertain about their identity or self-image. They tend to see things in terms of extremes, either all good or all bad. They also typically view themselves as victims of circumstance and take little responsibility for themselves or their problems.

Other symptoms include:

* Feelings of emptiness and boredom
* Frequent displays of inappropriate anger
* Impulsiveness with money, substance abuse, sexual relationships, binge eating, or shoplifting
* Intolerance of being alone
* Recurrent acts of crisis such as wrist cutting, overdosing, or self-injury (such as cutting)

Treatment

Group therapy can help change self-destructive behaviors. Having peers reinforce appropriate behaviors may be more successful than one-on-one counseling, because people with this condition often have difficulty with authority figures, which can prevent them from learning.

Medications can help level mood swings and treat depression or other disorders that may occur with this condition.
Causes

Personality disorders are long-term (chronic) patterns of behavior that negatively affect relationships and work. The cause of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is unknown. People with BPD are impulsive in areas that have a potential for self-harm, such as drug use, drinking, and other risk-taking behaviors.

Risk factors for BPD include:

* Abandonment in childhood or adolescence
* Disrupted family life
* Poor communication in the family
* Sexual abuse

This personality disorder tends to occur more often in women and among hospitalized psychiatric patients.
Tests & diagnosis

Personality disorders are diagnosed based on psychological evaluation and the history and severity of the symptoms.
Prognosis

Borderline personality disorder has a poor outlook because people often do not comply with treatment.
Complications

* Drug abuse
* Suicide attempts
* Eating disorders
* Depression

When to contact a doctor

Call your health care provider if you or your child is has symptoms of borderline personality disorder.


https://www.google.com/health/ref/Bo...ality+disorder

The description about it reminds me of my ex-boyfriend. Glad to be done with him.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:05 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by Green Eyed Fairy View Post
Interesting post about BPD....I have heard of it before but wasn't entirely sure what it is. I googled up some information about it.

Chattery, I grew up with a mentally ill mother so even thought it's different on some levels that when you had, I still understand the neglect, confusion, shock and frustration you may have known as a child....that you carried into adulthood.

My mom can be the coldest, meanest, cruelest people to me that I have ever known because anything she does is made worse by the fact that she is my mother. Then she can "flip" and sometimes surprise me with concern and understanding.....it can confuse me and I feel a guard go up whenever this occurs....because I know it won't last.

I have learned to take the good with the bad.....it's definitely made me stronger in many ways as I make my way in the world as an adult.





The description about it reminds me of my ex-boyfriend. Glad to be done with him.
I'm glad to hear you are out of that relationship too. I'm hypersensitive to that sort of thing now to a point where it keeps me out of most relationships; especially ones with guys who exhibit any inkling of pathology. I've learned to totally trust my instincts. Who is that says "believe someone when they show you who they are"... Maya Angelou? It's been hard not to feel like I was being overly cautious but, now, I think it's one of the healthiest skills I have in my little toolbox!

Each of my parents had diagnosed personality disorders, psychological disorders, addiction issues, AND physical disabilities. So, you know, I won the freaking genetic jackpot. Ha. I'm sorry you went through it too. That confusion is the worst.

I try to stay away from any self-help stuff or guru lingo... both for professional and personal reasons but the borderline support groups refer to that place you describe as Oz. The place of confusion and guilt that you get stuck in when your relatives can't control their behaviors. It sucks.

Even in this moment, logically, I know my parents are pretty crappy parents and always have been mostly horrible to me. Yet, despite all of the physical and emotional abuse, stealing, lies, abandonment, serious breeches of trust, total lack of support in every area of my life, if they do one little thing like bring me a snack from a convenience store, I allow myself to love them all over again and actually blame myself for ever feeling like they were crappy parents.

It sucks to be 30 and so dysfunctional with the family stuff. I know, in my heart, the only way I'll be completely "normal" is to just cut them out of my life because they can't (or won't) change who they are and I'm too tender hearted to have them in my life without taking responsibility for their issues and constantly patching up their mistakes.
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:44 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by Green Eyed Fairy View Post
Interesting post about BPD....I have heard of it before but wasn't entirely sure what it is. I googled up some information about it.
Greenie, some of the info in that article you posted is out of date, at least the treatment part. In the last couple decades a new treatment--dialectical behavioral therapy--has improved outcomes for this disorder somewhat.

I don't have any personal experience with DBT, but I have a good friend who was diagnosed a couple years ago and has been undergoing the treatment and my life was also greatly touched by someone suspected of having BPD, so I have read a lot about it.

General info on DBT

Comparison of DBT vs. group therapy

Interesting article on structrual differences in the brains of people with BPD
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:08 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by rainyday View Post
Greenie, some of the info in that article you posted is out of date, at least the treatment part. In the last couple decades a new treatment--dialectical behavioral therapy--has improved outcomes for this disorder somewhat.

I don't have any personal experience with DBT, but I have a good friend who was diagnosed a couple years ago and has been undergoing the treatment and my life was also greatly touched by someone suspected of having BPD, so I have read a lot about it.

General info on DBT

Comparison of DBT vs. group therapy

Interesting article on structrual differences in the brains of people with BPD
That's great information. If anyone has any specific questions about DBT, I'll be glad to take them on and answer. I'm not an expert, by any means, but my most recent research was working with DBT to modify it for a different population. I'm fairly familiar with the validation literature as well as Linehan, herself, and the different anticipated outcomes of the treatment.

I love DBT and (obviously since that was my last research focus), I think it fits very well with multiple populations. If I lived in a metro area with multiple clinicians (instead of everyone knows your business-usa), I'd love to join a DBT treatment group to see what I can get out of it. Sure, all of the principles won't apply to people without severe symptoms, but who can't benefit from structured mindfulness training?

Another great curriculum that might apply to this thread is Seeking Safety. It is validated for individuals who suffer from PTSD and Substance Abuse issues. However, I believe it works equally as well if you just replace the substance abuse with any other addiction (shopping/eating, whatever) or leave out the addiction part altogether and just focus on the PTSD workbook parts.

Seeking Safety's Website

Quote:
What is Seeking Safety? Seeking Safety is a present-focused therapy to help people attain safety from trauma/PTSD and substance abuse. The treatment is available as a book, providing both client handouts and guidance for clinicians.

The treatment was designed for flexible use. It has been conducted in group and individual format; for women, men, and mixed-gender; using all topics or fewer topics; in a variety of settings (outpatient, inpatient, residential); and for both substance abuse and dependence. It has also been used with people who have a trauma history, but do not meet criteria for PTSD.
As I mentioned before, I sort of puke at the idea of recommending self-help guru stuff to people but if anyone wanted to invest in a used version of either Linehan's Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or Najavits' Seeking Safety, I'd say it would be a good investment.

I can't promise to do it this week, but if anyone is interested, please private message me and I'll scan in some of the pages from both of the texts (if I have them here and they aren't still in storage) and you can see for yourself if it would be helpful before you make the plunge to purchase.

Of course, if self-directed isn't your thing, and you still think these would help, it's likely that a local psychotherapist will be familiar and can guide you through these curriculums with additional supports.
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Old 10-12-2009, 06:22 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by BBW4Chattery View Post
I'm glad to hear you are out of that relationship too. I'm hypersensitive to that sort of thing now to a point where it keeps me out of most relationships; especially ones with guys who exhibit any inkling of pathology. I've learned to totally trust my instincts. Who is that says "believe someone when they show you who they are"... Maya Angelou? It's been hard not to feel like I was being overly cautious but, now, I think it's one of the healthiest skills I have in my little toolbox!

Each of my parents had diagnosed personality disorders, psychological disorders, addiction issues, AND physical disabilities. So, you know, I won the freaking genetic jackpot. Ha. I'm sorry you went through it too. That confusion is the worst.

I try to stay away from any self-help stuff or guru lingo... both for professional and personal reasons but the borderline support groups refer to that place you describe as Oz. The place of confusion and guilt that you get stuck in when your relatives can't control their behaviors. It sucks.

Even in this moment, logically, I know my parents are pretty crappy parents and always have been mostly horrible to me. Yet, despite all of the physical and emotional abuse, stealing, lies, abandonment, serious breeches of trust, total lack of support in every area of my life, if they do one little thing like bring me a snack from a convenience store, I allow myself to love them all over again and actually blame myself for ever feeling like they were crappy parents.

It sucks to be 30 and so dysfunctional with the family stuff. I know, in my heart, the only way I'll be completely "normal" is to just cut them out of my life because they can't (or won't) change who they are and I'm too tender hearted to have them in my life without taking responsibility for their issues and constantly patching up their mistakes.
I think it's natural to love our parents......it's just hard to protect yourself from those we love that think nothing of hurting us. That seems like a human condition and not "stupidity". Keep yourself the way you are......loving other people is a good thing. Hurt goes along with all the other things we find in this life.....so it's okay. Just keep getting back up is all......

I second guess myself a lot....and have been learning to heed my first impressions now more often than not. Self confidence....it goes way beyond the physical....it also affects our core beliefs about other people and how we perceive them.


Funny to see your reference to "Oz". Ironic really, that I never thought to think of it that way because in my counseling, I did some relaxed visualizations and "The Wizard of Oz" theme kept popping up in them. I liked the book and the movie a lot as a child. I saw "a big floating bubble" often times....and other similarities....so much so even my counselor mentioned how it kept coming up.




Quote:
Originally Posted by rainyday View Post
Greenie, some of the info in that article you posted is out of date, at least the treatment part. In the last couple decades a new treatment--dialectical behavioral therapy--has improved outcomes for this disorder somewhat.

I don't have any personal experience with DBT, but I have a good friend who was diagnosed a couple years ago and has been undergoing the treatment and my life was also greatly touched by someone suspected of having BPD, so I have read a lot about it.

General info on DBT

Comparison of DBT vs. group therapy

Interesting article on structrual differences in the brains of people with BPD

Thank you Rainy!!
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:45 AM   #57
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sorry..another time maby. x
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Old 10-19-2009, 02:11 AM   #58
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Default Another long post, sorry there was no other way.

In the realm of abandonment issues I have experienced, over the years, a number of behaviours associated with it from the perspective of observer, participant, and recipient.
Ms GEF saw a post that I made in another thread where I associated one reason a person may cheat on a spouse or S/O with abandonment issues and invited me to share some thoughts on her thread here.

I am male, and I see myself in a number of behavioural traits that were described by GEF in prior posts anylizing the issue of abandonment and more specifically I identify as the internalizer.
People who are primarily Internalizers have problems with:
* Depression
* Other-Centeredness
* Care-taking and approval-seeking
* Lack of adequate boundaries
* Have difficulty saying "no" for fear of abandonment
* And, lack of a sense of personal power

I can read this list and tick off every trait.

I have been in growing up and in every relationship I have entered into:
Rebel/Scapegoat:
This child learns to get attention through misbehavior. They get time, attention, affection, and direction from teachers, principals, counselors, and juvenile officers who are all trying to manage their behavior. Unconsciously, the rebel understands that negative strokes are better than no strokes at all.

People Pleaser:
This child is prone to approval-seeking behavior. They fear abandonment and rejection if they say “no” and so developed difficulty setting boundaries.

Placater:
It is the job of this child to help the family avoid conflict by heading off trouble and making sure others don’t make waves. This role and the People Pleaser may also be the Lost Child. It is not unusual for middle children to take on several roles or all of the roles at different times in the life of the family.

The Intellectualizer/Rationalizer:

A.K.A., the Computer, This child learns to say out of their emotions by staying in the thinking or left brain to "figure things out."
While this is an attempt to protect themselves from feeling their painful emotions, it usually backfires because they end up attracting, and being attracted to, people who freely express those same painful emotions. These people "trigger" the intellectualizer into reluctantly experiencing their blocked emotions.


I mention my gender because some of what I admit to in my own behaviours are typically seen as very feminine behavioural traits associated with those who were victims of abuse, abandonment, or acceptance seeking. They run very parallel.
My behaviours weren't from being abandoned by those close to me such as family. My fear of abandonment came from being different and the way children treat those who don't act the way they are supposed to (just like them and all their friends.) It was more of a feeling of nonacceptance and being alone that I feared. The abandonment comes from the repetition of failure to achieve lasting relationships of any kind socially. I wonder how many other FAs share some of these experiences regardless of whether or not they display behaviours associated with abandonment?
As far back in my experience that I can remember I was targetted for being/acting different, or thinking differently and therefore the victim of just about everyone in my peer groups growing up. In my earliest experiences I remember what few friendships I could manage were one way, very usery, and disposable as soon as the "friend" was caught spending time with "the wierd kid."

Reaction formation is a conscious over-compensation for a subconscious fear of the opposite - For example, their need to always be right may be a defense against deep-seated fears of always being wrong.

I remember going to great lengths to keep people happy and wanting to spend time with me only to be let down again and again having to start over trying to make new friends regularly. Some of this "being weird" I now attribute to being an FA and in some cases the simple fact that I gave girls attention at such an early age was enough to get picked on but the girls I gave my attention to were always the chubby or fat little girls, which only made it worse for myself and the girls I gave attention to. The people I found were the most accepting were the kids much younger than myself, or the very much older than myself. Since I would attach to just about anyone that would give me attention and adults were more accepting of my being different it was easy to find (without realizing it) several pedophiles over the years that were more than happy to give a kid like myself the much sought after acceptance as well as a sexual education at an early age. The first one I found was when I was about 7. I was so afraid of being alone that I found myself in these types of situations several times throughout my growing up, each time fearing rejection if I did not comply, and once involved, afraid to say no.

I see the internalizer as being passive aggressive choosing to keep from being openly aggressive in the hopes that by internalizing they wont push anyone away.

Once in a relationship, the behaviours associated with abandonment came out in a couple of ways. The one that seems most important is being a fixer and care taker making sure that the object of my attention was never unhappy and if she was unhappy that I would go to great lengths to get it smoothed over as soon as possible and in some extreme ways. Another way this behaviour manifested was that I always sought out the next person with whom I would be able to jump to on a rebound and in some cases nurtured relationships specifically groomed to be available at the drop of a hat If the existing relationship were to fail as I was sure it inevitably would. When the inevitable happened it only justified the behaviour. I got married twice as a result of my fear of rejection and abandonment. Having 20/20 hindsight obviously hasn't helped keep me from repeating the behaviours.

My second marriage was with a woman having severe abandonment issues of her own that I can only label as being a smotherer. I saw this behaviour at its most extreme.
Her behaviour traits were:
* The Responsible One:
The 10 or 12 year old who comes home after school...gets the mail...washes the dishes...cleans up the house... and cares for the younger children. This is the "behind-the-scenes-hero.

*People Pleaser:
This child is prone to approval-seeking behavior. They fear abandonment and rejection if they say “no” and so developed difficulty setting boundaries.

*Placater:
It is the job of this child to help the family avoid conflict by heading off trouble and making sure others don’t make waves.

The woman in question was so crippled by her fear that she would be left, that even when getting fuel I was not allowed to go into the station and pay without her accompanying me as she saw any time that I was out of her sight as an opportunity that I might leave her, and would mentally fret coming up with more and more unlikely and bizarre scenarios in her mind that it would surely happen. She refused to go in and pay for the same reason. This was in the early stages of the relationship before deeper trust had been earned by either party involved. Although therapy helped her to realize some of the sources of her fear and give it a name, she came to realize that the behaviour would only have one outcome if it was let to continue. It would become a self fulfilling prophecy which would only deepen and magnify while continuing the cycle. I attribute her early and lengthy behaviours of sexual promiscuity to these issues as well and in her words it seemed a good way to get acceptance. She admitted that it was easier to get attention from men than from her female peers and keep them around using sex. Unfortunately it also became a repetitive self fulfilling prophesy of abandonment when used to gain attention and acceptance that she sought.


Although the smothering behaviour lessened greatly the issues of trust never changed. There was only one type of jealousy displayed and that was toward any circumstance or situation that either threatened to take me away from her or that she could not control access to me by its nature or distance. She had overachiever syndrome and a need to control any and everything to ensure this including whether or not I could attend school based on whether or not she thought I would pass or fail the course. If there wasn't an absolute surety of success, nothing was ventured, including repairs on the house or car by me. Although her personality could change like a chameleon to match that of any person she dealt with on a day to day basis and she was a master manipulator. These manipulations were used sometimes to achieve furthering of her control and success in the overachiever syndrome but most of the time it was used as a way to keep people close to her without actually having to invest of herself beyond the absolute minimum in any relationship (work associate, friend, acquaintance, or lover) especially since in her mind all these relationships were doomed to failure at whatever level given enough time, Looking back I am pretty sure that were it not for our combined abandonment issues we would not have lasted the 12 years that it did.

Another type of behaviour that I have seen exhibited is where the partner with the abandonment issue will latch on to more than one partner being afraid that eventually the one they have already will leave them eventually. (After all It's just a matter of time isn't it?) They are so afraid of being alone that this fear causes them to keep a backup relationship and lie to maintain it for years before they can relax enough to see that the one they had first isn't just another letdown and commit to them. In some cases here I see fear of abandonment and a fear of being alone as one in the same and in some cases the behaviour is exhibited through the revolving door of rebound relationships. There cannot be a lag between relationships in the mind of the one displaying the behaviour. In this case there will always be another partner or potential partner being courted before the ending of the existing relationship. Not only have I seen this enacted by several others over the years I myself am guilty of some of these behaviours as well in past relationships.

One other aspect of abandonment issues that makes me wonder is whether these issues have much to do with staying with a physically abusive partner, or continuing to return to the abuser fearing that their own rejection of the relationship in spite of the abuse is as bad as the act of rejection by their partner and cannot bring themselves to do it.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:01 PM   #59
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I like that you came and posted here Rollhandler. Thank you much...I think your post/input was quite valuable to this thread.

What you mentioned about peers/friend in childhood abandoning you....it happened to me, as well.

The sexual abuse...it happened to me and it happened to a man I was close with for two years. He grew up, reported the offender (who happened to be a minister...) to the police and his report was "lost". I kid you not.....
It all came up again ten years later when he (my ex-bf) ran into some other people from his childhood who told him the same had happened to them. That time they went with him to make a complaint. The police could not ignore the new onslought of past sexually abused children coming out of the wood work and had to arrest the guy (the minister that worked for Goodwill Industries with mentally handicapped kids, no shit....). All complaints were considered past the statute of limitations except....for the original complaint made ten years earlier.
A local news crew and a lawyer were able to dig that "lost" report up.....amazing, eh?

Preacher man is serving at least six years now.....

I'm incredibly proud of my ex for getting that predator off the streets.

What you said about the smothering ex.....that insecure, insane jealousy echoed my first short marriage. He seemed to always think that I always had some "ulterior motive" for going to work or the grocery store

Interesting point about "self fulfilling" prophecies. Wonder how many of us with abandonment issues have ran into that?
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:26 AM   #60
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Of course I wonder how many others have attributed early sexual abuse and teenage promiscuity (both male and female) with social acceptance and abandonment issues? I am not necessarily speaking about parental or familial sexual abuse since the level of attachment and proximity to ones abuser is part of it. I speak more about casual partners and molesters that one can choose to never be around again but in some cases the used /abused chooses to return because the person seems to accept them and the cost seems to be justified by the acceptance. I wonder if in these cases ones later sexuality isn't bound to their negative self worth and triggered by issues of sexual abandonment and acceptance?

Just for the record the molesters that I found in my journey were all acquantances or friends of friends or total strangers and not the ones typically thought of as having access and close contact with children. The earliest that I related was during an era where the kids in smaller towns were allowed to wander unsupervised about the prescribed areas of containment. ( anywhere on their block or at the park two blocks up or such) I know a lot more males have had these experiences than will admit but it does happen and does affect us deeply as well, and since a lot of times it happens with another male most of the time leads to a myriad of emotional and sexual trauma and in some cases extreme sexual behaviours that go unresolved over the years especially as they question sexuality during puberty.

It can even be acceptable in ones mind to pay for acceptance with the coin of sexuality and even make it consensual by justifying or misinterpreting predatory behaviour in the molester as acceptance, at extremely early ages with a molester, damaging the emotional psyche much more when the betrayal comes and the abandonment happens yet again.

I believe that sexual acceptance / rejection is a deeper issue with wider reaching deeper affects on ones psyche and emotional states relating to later relationships than most realize. I believe that even though one may be able to accept being abandoned by a person in a non sexual relationship and move on, that it hits harder to be abandoned or rejected once the level of sexual intimacy is achieved (regardless of whether it is a one night stand or a dating partner or even a molester) due to the level of intimacy and vulnerability being betrayed. Not only does the person feel abandoned but betrayed and used and worthless. The deeper the intimacy and more vulnerable one lets themselves get, the deeper the cut when the betrayal comes and the faster the callus grows over the emotional ability / availablility in the future relationships.

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Old 10-21-2009, 08:37 PM   #61
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Used and worthless.....quite an ugly feeling. Also....quite a catalyst to doing other stupid things.......
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Old 10-21-2009, 09:41 PM   #62
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Thanks for sharing your story, Roll. I realize this is the BBW forum, but I'm glad Greenie invited you to share. A couple things in particular that you said offered me some insights.
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Old 10-22-2009, 11:33 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by rollhandler
Of course I wonder how many others have attributed early sexual abuse and teenage promiscuity (both male and female) with social acceptance and abandonment issues?
I think the connection is direct and occurs more often than not; whether survivors recognize it and work through it is dependent upon their level of self-awareness.

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The deeper the intimacy and more vulnerable one lets themselves get, the deeper the cut when the betrayal comes and the faster the callus [sic] grows over the emotional ability / availablility in the future relationships.
You've got that quite right. What's especially harmful is when the person you are involved with (on whatever level) has full knowledge of your personal experiences in this area yet subsequently betrays you in a similar manner. It is at this point that you realize your 'partner' has issues that go far beyond that of your own--and that's saying something.

Thanks for your contributions to this thread; your insight is quite similar to mine regarding these issues.
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:00 AM   #64
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This is a good topic, one I have been thinking about recently.

I have never been abandoned in a physical sense, but have experienced a fair amount of emotional abandonment. My dad was kind of your classic there-in-body-but-not-in-spirit father, who checked out from my family emotionally when my brother and I were quite little. He was like a ghost in the house. As I grew up and put on weight, he became more involved with me, but only because he absolutely hated my fat and did everything he could to try to force me to lose weight. We reached a kind of uneasy peace (more of a truce, really) later in my life, but he still can't quite get over my size and my efforts to reach out to him are usually subtly rebuffed. So it's like....I have a dad, but I don't have a dad. When I got married I was 26, and it was just a therapist's cliche'd wet dream situation, where I sought out and found a man who was equally emotionally detached as my father had been. That eventually ended in divorce, not surprisingly. There's not much worse than feeling utterly and completely alone, while your partner is with you physically.

After a few years of post-divorce flailing-around-dating, not knowing what I wanted or needed, I took some time to myself to try to figure some stuff out, and emerged from that with a very clear promise to myself to never again become involved with a man who did not have equal interest in me, and equal emotional stock in the relationship. Sounds good, right? The problem is, I struggle with knowing WHEN is a reasonable time to make that determination. I think maybe my resolve to protect myself is so strong that I've cut things off earlier than I should, not giving enough time for things to potentially develop and for the man's feelings for me to grow. It's kind of the polar opposite of the more typical clinginess/neediness that abandonment issues frequently cause, if that makes any sense. I just can't stand the feeling of possibly being more interested in someone than he is into me; it makes me incredibly uncomfortable, like I just want to jump out of my skin. So I end it, fast. Maybe too fast? That's what I'm trying to figure out. I can't figure out if I'm doing the right thing for me or am missing out on something great because I maybe don't give things enough time. So I don't know. Some days it makes perfect sense to me, and some days I feel like it's essentially preemptive "better him now than me later" rejection and a pretty cowardly way to live. Leaps of faith are so damn scary, which I guess is why they're called that.

Anyway. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else experiences this, or has any insight.
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:39 AM   #65
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This is a good topic, one I have been thinking about recently.

I have never been abandoned in a physical sense, but have experienced a fair amount of emotional abandonment. My dad was kind of your classic there-in-body-but-not-in-spirit father, who checked out from my family emotionally when my brother and I were quite little. He was like a ghost in the house. As I grew up and put on weight, he became more involved with me, but only because he absolutely hated my fat and did everything he could to try to force me to lose weight. We reached a kind of uneasy peace (more of a truce, really) later in my life, but he still can't quite get over my size and my efforts to reach out to him are usually subtly rebuffed. So it's like....I have a dad, but I don't have a dad. When I got married I was 26, and it was just a therapist's cliche'd wet dream situation, where I sought out and found a man who was equally emotionally detached as my father had been. That eventually ended in divorce, not surprisingly. There's not much worse than feeling utterly and completely alone, while your partner is with you physically.

After a few years of post-divorce flailing-around-dating, not knowing what I wanted or needed, I took some time to myself to try to figure some stuff out, and emerged from that with a very clear promise to myself to never again become involved with a man who did not have equal interest in me, and equal emotional stock in the relationship. Sounds good, right? The problem is, I struggle with knowing WHEN is a reasonable time to make that determination. I think maybe my resolve to protect myself is so strong that I've cut things off earlier than I should, not giving enough time for things to potentially develop and for the man's feelings for me to grow. It's kind of the polar opposite of the more typical clinginess/neediness that abandonment issues frequently cause, if that makes any sense. I just can't stand the feeling of possibly being more interested in someone than he is into me; it makes me incredibly uncomfortable, like I just want to jump out of my skin. So I end it, fast. Maybe too fast? That's what I'm trying to figure out. I can't figure out if I'm doing the right thing for me or am missing out on something great because I maybe don't give things enough time. So I don't know. Some days it makes perfect sense to me, and some days I feel like it's essentially preemptive "better him now than me later" rejection and a pretty cowardly way to live. Leaps of faith are so damn scary, which I guess is why they're called that.

Anyway. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else experiences this, or has any insight.
Self defeating, self deprecating, and pre-emptive rejection behaviours such as what you describe are common amongst people in relationships they feel they are not worthy of having due to being rejected or abandoned emotionally multiple times or deep emotionally traumatic rejections. The need for being closeness is there but since it hurts to be that close we seek the relationship but sabotage it because it hurts to much to allow such vulnerablilty again with the expectation of rejection looming in our psyche. It turns us into that which we fear. This smacks of the abused becoming the abuser becoming part of the cycle to me, but it is common enough to see it in myself and others.

My first ever relationship was with a girl whose issues of worthlessness and abandonment and abuse were deep enough that every time I got uncomfortably close to having her believe the depth of my commitment and feelings for her she would do perform deliberate acts of sabotage to test me. Things that even when I passed the test I would fail. She would get out of the car at lights and start walking just to see if I would follow. She would walk out of the house to see how long it would be before I noticed her absence and talk her out of leaving, she screwed around multiple times or at least told me she had, then couldn't believe that the act was forgivable. She couldn't figure out why I didn't rage or leave her or beat her for her actions. My inability to act the way she thought I should have caused the fail, when I didn't act the way she thought I should have toward her, even though I passed by acting the way she hoped I would. I stayed with her as a partner for 3 years before finally accepting the futility of the situation, but in the end I figured out that no matter how steadfast or how hard I tried or worked or hoped or loved her she would never allow herself to be happy in a relationship.
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:14 PM   #66
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Self defeating, self deprecating, and pre-emptive rejection behaviours such as what you describe are common amongst people in relationships they feel they are not worthy of having due to being rejected or abandoned emotionally multiple times or deep emotionally traumatic rejections. The need for being closeness is there but since it hurts to be that close we seek the relationship but sabotage it because it hurts to much to allow such vulnerablilty again with the expectation of rejection looming in our psyche. It turns us into that which we fear. This smacks of the abused becoming the abuser becoming part of the cycle to me, but it is common enough to see it in myself and others.

My first ever relationship was with a girl whose issues of worthlessness and abandonment and abuse were deep enough that every time I got uncomfortably close to having her believe the depth of my commitment and feelings for her she would do perform deliberate acts of sabotage to test me. Things that even when I passed the test I would fail. She would get out of the car at lights and start walking just to see if I would follow. She would walk out of the house to see how long it would be before I noticed her absence and talk her out of leaving, she screwed around multiple times or at least told me she had, then couldn't believe that the act was forgivable. She couldn't figure out why I didn't rage or leave her or beat her for her actions. My inability to act the way she thought I should have caused the fail, when I didn't act the way she thought I should have toward her, even though I passed by acting the way she hoped I would. I stayed with her as a partner for 3 years before finally accepting the futility of the situation, but in the end I figured out that no matter how steadfast or how hard I tried or worked or hoped or loved her she would never allow herself to be happy in a relationship.
Rollhandler
Yikes. I hear what you're saying, ahh, Dr. Rollhandler (), but that's not really it, in my case. It's not a matter of feeling like I don't deserve it or being self-deprecating or testing the guy, not at all (and eeek, I have to admit, it kind of bugs me that that's how you read my post; makes me wish I could go back and edit!). Suffice it to say that I think a person can recognize earlier self-destructive patterns (like being attracted to emotionally unavailable men) and eventually take some self-protective steps like I have without feeling worthless or undeserving - in fact, if anything, I do this because I know I deserve better and more than what I've had in the past. I just wonder if my "steps" are honing in too early, that's all. I think you've made some good points here, Roll, but it also shows that armchair psychology can be kind of limited, at the end of the day.
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Old 10-26-2009, 02:26 PM   #67
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Carrie, as I was reading about your dad I kept thinking what an astoundingly huge mistake he's made by being unwilling to fully have a relationship with you. You are so funny and inventive and humble and smart and fun and so...well, Carrie! He has truly missed out.

Also, I have to agree with Carrie, Roll. Based on the person I've come to know over the years, I don't see that first paragraph you wrote as applicable to her. Not sure if maybe you were speaking more generally and I've misread that, but it seemed as if you were applying it to her.
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:44 PM   #68
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Yikes. I hear what you're saying, ahh, Dr. Rollhandler (), but that's not really it, in my case. It's not a matter of feeling like I don't deserve it or being self-deprecating or testing the guy, not at all (and eeek, I have to admit, it kind of bugs me that that's how you read my post; makes me wish I could go back and edit!). Suffice it to say that I think a person can recognize earlier self-destructive patterns (like being attracted to emotionally unavailable men) and eventually take some self-protective steps like I have without feeling worthless or undeserving - in fact, if anything, I do this because I know I deserve better and more than what I've had in the past. I just wonder if my "steps" are honing in too early, that's all. I think you've made some good points here, Roll, but it also shows that armchair psychology can be kind of limited, at the end of the day.
Though in rereading your original post I see your point about emotional unavailability although I followed it to the wrong conclusion. Sorry to have posted in error. And, thank you for the correction, and for showing me another angle to view the behaviours that I may have misinterpreted from others as well.
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:09 PM   #69
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Get outta my head, lady.
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:41 PM   #70
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Carrie, as I was reading about your dad I kept thinking what an astoundingly huge mistake he's made by being unwilling to fully have a relationship with you. You are so funny and inventive and humble and smart and fun and so...well, Carrie! He has truly missed out.

Also, I have to agree with Carrie, Roll. Based on the person I've come to know over the years, I don't see that first paragraph you wrote as applicable to her. Not sure if maybe you were speaking more generally and I've misread that, but it seemed as if you were applying it to her.
Thank you so much, rainy-my-sweet. For both things, especially the first.

(I feel like he's missed out, too).

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Though in rereading your original post I see your point about emotional unavailability although I followed it to the wrong conclusion. Sorry to have posted in error. And, thank you for the correction, and for showing me another angle to view the behaviours that I may have misinterpreted from others as well.
One of my many faults that I've had pointed out to me by others is my ability to overanylize.
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Thanks, Roll, I appreciate that.
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:58 AM   #71
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I feel like it's essentially preemptive "better him now than me later" rejection ...
I think this is the crux of what you were explaining and i have to say i think thats pretty common. As humans our main objective is basically self preservation and i think that sometimes when we have been hurt in the past like that our brains make wee patterns, like sledge trails in the snow. If you have ever been sledging you will know that if you start off on the track you made before, its pretty much impossible to go in any other direction but the one you dug out for yourself.
I think the fact you know what is happening is a brilliant start because half the time people do stuff over and over a million times and they still dont have as much self awareness as you have shown.
The self preservation thing i think is like an evolutionary anoyance, whereby when we were living in caves we might stear clear of a heard of mammoth (I have no idea if mammoth and humans co-exosted btw! lol) just incase at some point they decide to charge and trample us to death... these days the self preservation is kinna saved for not wanting to be hurt emotionally or embarressed (Its funny the lengths we go to to save face!).
I can't give you advice because only you know you enough to do that, but i can say that i used to do the same; I had to reach a point where i thought "Well if this person wants to be with me they will and if they don't then they wont" I had to have a self mantra which made me realise if people i loved left, then it would hurt but that i would get over it.. i had to know i was mentally strong enough to do that i think. I had to weigh up the pro's and cons. The Cons (of keeping my old patterns were)-I would date people (like you said) who were emotionally unavailable, lived 3000 miles away or that i pretty much knew i wouldnt fall in love with. The Pros (Of trying not take the easy, deep as fuck snow and slush route)-I can be in a relationship with someone i love.
I think you can decide for yourself what a good enough time is to give someone a chance-You could designate an amount of time even (unless they were fucking unbarable!).. Keep trying.
I think most people are terrified when it comes to falling in love.. its weird how one of the best things is also one of the most scary!! *Shakes fist at universe* -The right person may not make it as scary for you either...
I dunno..I wish there was an Oracle or something around here!!!!
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:54 PM   #72
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what I hate the most about this...

Just when I start feeling good about myself and telling myself I am worth being with..i am worth knowing and loving... feeling hopeful & positive about someone seeing that in me... I start picking at all the things I do not like about myself physically, mentally etc and sabotage a relationship that doesn't even exist yet (especially in the romantic sense)
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Old 10-29-2009, 07:41 AM   #73
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I can't talk about this right now, I thought I could but death is the ultimate abandonment. I thought I could share but not now...
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Old 10-29-2009, 07:50 AM   #74
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I can't talk about this right now, I thought I could but death is the ultimate abandonment. I thought I could share but not now...
Hiya steely, I know we are not close but I send you (((hugs))) and support
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:34 PM   #75
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I can't talk about this right now, I thought I could but death is the ultimate abandonment. I thought I could share but not now...


(((((Steely))))) I'm so so sorry. It's just so damn unfair.
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