Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy – Idealization & Devaluation

I forgot to post about therapy this week because my work week has been so freaking busy. So here it is. Late, but I got some important stuff figured out…

Let’s get the bulimic stuff out of the way first, shall we? Therapist has come to the conclusion that clearly my bulimia is triggered by being alone. Heh, gee, ya think? She did mention a theory that I found interesting. She said that eating disorders are correlated to relationship issues; connected with issues in childhood revolving around letting go or interrupted relationships. This theory makes absolute sense in connection to Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ll have to think on this more but I can definitely see how this would fit. At least in part. I still believe that a lot of my issues have to do with control and a need to be ‘perfect’. We’re working on ruling out things that trigger me and working on ways to preemptively prepare myself and avoid having to engage this behavior.


The really important thing we talked about?
My relationship with Friend is turning into a healthy friendship. Therapist seems to think most people can’t do that. She thinks it’s because I’m a sophisticated thinker. I think I’m a glutton for punishment… but after a while you get used to it and it’s not as harsh anymore. You build up a tolerance and pretty soon it doesn’t hurt you so much anymore. Ok, maybe it’s not all that. Maybe it’s not that at all. I don’t think it’s because I have some sophisticated point of view though. I’m afraid of losing him. I cannot let go of people. Not unless they’ve done something truly devastating and he simply hasn’t. In fact, other than being a little clueless since the sexual element of our relationship subsided he’s really been nothing but good to me. That doesn’t mean that things don’t still dig at me occasionally. It’s still painful for me to see him putting so much effort into a loveless marriage but frankly, do I really want to be with someone that is blinded to the realities of his life? No, not really. Plus I’m moving on and that helps. I’m not going to lie. Watching him have a stifled, sexless, awkward marriage while I’m out living it up… well, I’m amused. At the same time… I’ve stopped pushing away. For months now I’ve been trying to find some kind of balance with him. No, I haven’t told him this. I’m trying to figure out myself and how I fit with him. For months I was cool, reserved and very aloof with him. Distant. I refused to talk about personal stuff. I shut him down when he tried to talk about personal stuff with me. I kept conversation and interaction familiar and platonic, but removed. I’ve noticed over the past month though, that I’m reattaching to him, in a healthier way.


I idealized our friendship, our relationship. I’d convinced myself that he was absolutely perfect. Everything we shared, had in common, it MEANT that we were right to be together. And maybe I’m not entirely crazy in my thinking, but the fact of the matter is he’s married and that’s not going to change. (Reminder: He’s in an open marriage. His wife knew about the full extent of our relationship.)  When things changed I was utterly disillusioned but being Borderline I’m not able to make a smooth transition from one state to another. Change makes me panic and I immediately devalued him and hated his wife. At the same time I was afraid of losing him from my life entirely. I was in constant conflict about whether he should even be in my life and not being able to fathom losing my friend. I was pain personified and I didn’t know how to make it stop so I let it ride. I can deal with pain. It’s so familiar to me I almost don’t know how to function without it. But I’m learning. And things have slowly been changing with me, in regards to him, so that I am able to enjoy spending time with him, and not vilify him. Or idealize him.


Some things he did that were incredibly helpful to this process: When we first changed our relationship he’d written me a letter telling me he did love me as a friend and let me know just how much our friendship meant to him. I’m not going to lie and say I believed a word he said. Everyone lies. But it’s been nearly 6 months now and I can look back on that letter and see that the things he’d said still seem to hold true. He’s still here. He gave me the space I needed without pushing me, and didn’t leave. Even when I was horrible to him, even when I said things to make him angry, to push him away, to try to force his hand… he called me on my behavior and didn’t let me run away.

I’m beginning to think that getting past that first major devaluation in a relationship is an important step for someone with BPD. I’d tentatively wager that going through that first major devaluation is probably the best thing for a friendship/relationship in the long run. It shows that you can come through such a thing intact, and that it is possible to have relationships that continue to thrive even after, which will cultivate a new kind of trust. That lasts. At least, that’s what I’m coming to understand currently.

Check it out. Accidental relationship hope =)
How did I learn to channel my anger….

Therapist often tells me that I have a calm, healing presence. I almost always counter this with ‘now, I didn’t used to’.  To which she responds: I just can’t imagine it, you don’t appear that way at all. Of course you wouldn’t see that, you’ve only known me for 8 months. You didn’t know me when I was destroying my house, kicking down doors and putting my fist through plate glass. I did realize that I had a major turning point when I began my major costuming endeavor though. About 6 years ago I did my first major costuming vacation. I spent a month making 13 full outfits. I channeled all of my attention and energy into that one goal and was rewarded with one of the happiest, peaceful and most freeing experiences of my life. I don’t think I realized it consciously until recently, but having a creative out (as I mention way back in Escapism) is crucial for helping me calm my anger. That or fighting really. I did mixed martial arts for 15 years and am looking to get back into it. It’s a safer form for my aggression, but as that’s not currently on my agenda… art! Finding something you love, something you can immerse yourself in…. is therapeutic all in and of its own.

That’s not to say it always works or that I’m not still angry. I am incredibly angry. All the time. But having resources to focus it are crucial.

Therapist is also happy that I’m cultivating a new relationship with my Lady Friend. She noted that I seem to be incredibly comfortable in my sexuality. I consider myself bisexual? Yeah, I suppose. Really, I’m just sexual. The frequency of my problems and personal issues are GREATLY reduced with women, and being monogamous with men is always disastrous for me. I can be with a woman in a monogamous relationship and be content, but if I’m in a monogamous relationship with a man I feel like I’m denying a part of myself and I become incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin and in the relationship until I’m afraid it’s going to end. Yes, my parents know and accept this. Without problem, without hesitation. As far as I know. It’s not really up for discussion, I just let them know and they can choose to support me or not, but they always have.  She also thought to allay my fears that things were not sexually normal. I’m just so used to using sex as a tool, that in a healthy relationship these things progress organically and will happen when they do. Which is a relief. So odd for me though. I’m just, not used to this. Therapist is actually very proud of me for allowing myself to take safe risks. With all of the problems I have letting people close to me, I’m allowing myself another chance. And I’m doing it differently. I’m trying to remember how my past relationships have gone and I’m actively trying to remember that I need to do things differently.  It’s only been a month, and traditionally it takes a little longer for my real crazy to kick in when it comes to relationships, but I am doing things differently and so far it seems to be making a very beneficial difference. 

Advertisements

2 comments on “Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy – Idealization & Devaluation

  1. Hi Haven, Again, your words here give me hope. And, I agree with your thinking on doing things differently. While I can't imagine the visceral pain someone with BPD goes through in a relationship, from my own experience with my friend I hold out hope that she may have the strength to approach things differently. And, those of us who tend to be "neuro-typical" (a thought-provoking modifier) really have to put forth the effort to think differently, too. When people truly care for one another, it is surely worth the effort.

  2. :palm to forehead: I've been reading from the beginning, and you never mentioned until now that Friend is in an open marriage, and Wife knows the full extent of your relationship (past & present). Duh. This makes so much more sense and changes the way I've been imagining this "love triangle" completely.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s