Did you ever ask someone to scratch your back and they keep missing the itchy spot?
How irritating that is even though you ask them "to go up, now to the left, harder, up and down" and sometimes even shift around hoping they will get it when they are not. It can be very frustrating if the other person completely misses the spot. After awhile you just give up - - your communication isn't working.
This is not unlike communications with our partners with Borderline Personality Disorder (pwBPD).
A pwBPD doesn't have the emotional language to ask for what they need. They often communicate "up, now to the left, harder" when they really mean "down, to the right, side to side"
The "itch" is the hurt our very sensitive pwBPD feels inside. Often our partners don't even know how to process what they are feeling or put it into words. As a result, some become demanding and controlling, some become mean and nasty, some give up and move on to someone else, and some just stop asking all together.
Can you imagine a lifetime of this?
As they have grown up, a pwBPD finds way to adapt - alternate ways to get their needs met - projection, mirroring, manipulating, sex, alcohol, drugs - pulling others into a relationship enmeshment.
As responsible partners, we want to respond appropriately. We listen to the words and the directions - we "scratch harder, softer, slower, faster, bigger circles, and up and down" in an effort to appease our partner. We think we are good listeners. We struggle when we fall short. We change and change and change. We lament over our failure to make things better.
What are we doing wrong?
Part of the problem is Borderline Personality Disorder. Part of the problem is us. Trying to follow or pwBPD partner's words rather than learning to read their emotions and their actions.
pwBPD are mentally ill. They are highly emotional beings, very sensitive, and misleading communicators. When we stop responding to their alternate ways to get their needs met - projection, mirroring, manipulating, sex, alcohol, drugs - - and instead learn to read the unexpressed needs - - only then will we understand them and be able to help them.
Authors: United for Now, Skip
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