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Anger and Pain: Family distance!! ~ BPD in Action!!

Posted May 04 2010 12:00am

If you remember, I stated somewhere that last week left me emotionally exhausted. I couldn't write about it then, but I'll try now. (Remember, I have a Borderline Personality Disorder)  Current, commentary in the emails are in purple brackets.  Let us start by identifying the key people.

Coleen:  Me
Adrian:  Husband
Arleen:  Aunt
Judy:     Arleen's partner
Grandmother:  Grandma; Masaye

Key definitions:

Fragmentation ~ the person is all emotion with no reality based thoughts; emotionally reactionary verses thoughtful and responsive; a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. [Judy and I are fragmenting during the following interaction and are all feeling and reactionary.  Judy is significantly fragmenting and demonstrating a Borderline Personality Disorder feature.  We all do this, but it is especially difficult for someone with BPD to manage.]

Mirroring ~ "copying" another persons affect or thoughts. Basically, demonstrating agreement with another, so that they feel like you think and feel the same thing. In infants and children, this is extremely important. When this phase does not take place, a person will try to do this with adult relationships. [This whole thing started by a simple interaction were I didn't have the same opinion as Judy. Look at links below for details. It may seem like it is my reaction to Arleen, but, in fact, I didn't not fulfill her infantile fantasy that someone will mirror me exactly the way I want them to. BPD characteristic.]

Alignment ~ attempts at having another person think and feel the same way. This is a part of infantile fantasy and mirroring. Infantile fantasy is that everyone and everything align or agrees with how you think and feel. [BPD attempt at getting what they didn't get when they were very young...for me as an infant.]

Splitting ~ black and white thinking; everything is all good or all bad; polarization of people, ideas, and things. All or nothing statements are symptoms of this. (always, never, every time, etc..) [Judy is splitting me.  Once, I was all good to her and could do nothing wrong, but now everything I say, do, or once said and did is view as that I am all bad. Tough BPD issue to manage.]

Projection ~ a person projects their own feelings, emotions or motivations onto another person without realizing that their reaction is really more about themselves rather than it is about the other person. [Judy is doing this in the interaction. This is especially characteristic of someone with BPD.]

Transference ~ is when an someone associates something that is said or done in a past experience and so relives the emotions of that past experience in the present. [Both of us are doing this in the interaction.]

Some background:  During last year, Arleen and Judy were extremely supportive of me after about 15 years of almost no communication.  Judy reports that my mother had told them that I was a very conservative Christian and felt that their marriage was an abomination.  She told me that they were uncomfortable with my being a Christian.  None of which is true.  I am actually a gay rights supporter. I think that they were projecting the "media church's" view on homosexuality on to me.  Additionally, I think I was a threat to their relationship as I was extremely close to Arleen.  She basically raised me and was emotionally my mother.

At the start of this year, there was a situation where all communication had been cut off between Arleen, Judy and I.  (See the following posts:  http://clinicallyclueless.blogspot.com/2010/01/family-drama-anger-pain-fragmentation.html , http://clinicallyclueless.blogspot.com/2010/01/drama-continues.html , http://clinicallyclueless.blogspot.com/2010/01/drama-and-depression.html , http://clinicallyclueless.blogspot.com/search/label/Family%20Drama  ). 

However, due to my Grandma's illness and subsequent passing away, Judy and Arleen had extensive communication with me and seeing one another at the events following. Judy had even called crying when her father passed away, her mother passed three days later and Grandma the day after.  The last conversation Adrian and I had we were in the middle of praying for her when she suddenly had to talk a call from her son.

Everything seemed fine during the events surrounding my Grandma's death.  My husband noted the same.  However, I emailed or sent an ecard to Arleen and Judy about one time per week since Grandma's passing (Feb 1st).  I had not had any response and received indication that she received, but did not open the emails or ecards.  Then, I received the following:

(It should be noted that Judy screens all of Arleen's mail, email and telephone calls addressed to Arleen.  It is very obvious that "Arleen's responses" to me are written by Judy especially as Arleen does not speak or write in the manner which they were written. She also is not awake during the hours that they were received.)

Received 4/26/10; Sent to Adrian, Arleen and myself; From Judy

Coleen and Adrian,

I thought my parameters were clear with Coleen, after Coleen left that horribly cruel message to Arleen on her cell phone some months ago. [see links above for details] Prior to that call to Arleen, I had put myself "out there", to be genuinely supportive and loving to and for Coleen. Arleen and I have been treated poorly by Coleen, through her behavior and actions toward us both, months ago. My feelings of extreme disgust especially over Coleen's treatment of Arleen, have not changed.  [This all stems from my setting a limit with Judy, but she is focusing on my statement toward Arleen which was quite nasty, but Arleen accepted my explanation and apology.]

While Masaye was ill and during the meetings of the family after she passed, I was appropriately as civil as I could manage to be, with consideration to all parties affected by her loss. [This is quite an over statement and may not even be true.  Remember that people with BPD don't see things as they really are and inflate and feed into their own anger...I know and it is difficult to be thoughtful instead of reactionary.] Somehow, this decision (my decision not to be cold or distant with Coleen at the hospital, service, Mom's home etc., ) was either greatly misinterpreted, or in my opinion, used as an excuse to proceed as if "nothing ever happened."

I asked not to be send e-cards and yet, this persists. I expressed my hurt over incidences with you personally, Coleen... and I expressed my infuriation and revulsion over your behavior and verbal dissection of Arleen. She is the last person on the earth who deserves your cruelty. Your behavior was absolutely inexcusable. [Each email that Judy has sent regarding the "incident" becomes bigger and bigger as demonstrated by her own words.  Also, begin to see how she uses splitting by all, nothing, never...etc.  This is definitely a BPD characteristic and quite difficult to manage and learn to be thoughtful rather than reactionary.  I'm getting better at it.]

As to the gift card you sent for my birthday, I am informing you that I have given it to Arleen because I'm not comfortable accepting it from you. It will be considered her birthday present from you to her for May. [This demonstrated how fused Judy and Arleen are with one another.  She is not dictating what I am to give Arleen for her birthday.  I'm going to send Arleen a gift of my own. I figure that Judy can do whatever she wants with my gift.]

I leave Arleen to speak for herself, if and when she chooses to do so, as always. As for me personally, to be perfectly clear Coleen, please do not email me, send ecards, call me or contact me in any way. It is well known that "fragmenting" is no excuse to treat people like shit only to expect that others roll under the weight of it. I believe you knew exactly what you were saying and while you truly experience "fragmenting" at times, you also employ it as a tactic to behave in ways so that you can escape responsibility for your actions by claiming "it" as the culprit. [Long discussions with my therapist over this paragraph.  Bottom line is that this is not true, but is for Judy who is projecting. She doesn't seem aware of her own behavior and this is actually more true for her than for me.]

We have been through the worst months of our lives and I will not allow these "issues" to persist. Please show some respect and let me be. I wish you both well.

Sincerely,
Judy

[Judy is BPD and has demonstrated many of the characteristics of such.  One of the issues we face with BPD is that we act and say things in ways to make the other person feel as we do. (projection).  So, my reaction was anger bordering on rage when I first received this.  However, I have stopped reacting to her anger which was directed at me.  Basically, she is angry about my setting a boundary with her and is rageful, so is trying to make me feel as angry as she is.  Classic BPD symptom. Tough one for me to deal with.]

Sent: 4/26/10; To: Arleen; BCC: Adrian

Arleen,

Do you feel the same as Judy in regards to me? Do you not want any contact
with me? If you do not answer as Judy made reference to, I will interpret a
lack of response from you that you do not want me to contact you via mail,
email, telephone calls, ecard, or to contact you in any way. I just want
some clarification about where I stand with you.

Love,
Coleen

Received 4/26/10; To: Me; BCC: Judy, Adrian

I do love you, you are my family and always will be, that can't be changed. I'm sorry that we can't have as close a relationship as before, because of what you said to Judy and me. I have forgiven you for me, but can't forget that somewhere inside of you, the real you, you must really think that about me. I love you, Coleen and always have! We can continue to email and ecard between the two of us, if you would like.
Love,
Arleen

[This email is obviously written by Judy as it does not sound like Arleen and sounds like Judy.  The other evidence is that it was written at a time when Arleen is quite far from being awake.]

Sent 4/26/10; To: Arleen; BCC: Adrian; From: me

I do love you too. I also am also angry and sad that you can't get past what was told to you by Judy. Especially, as you indicated in response to my email explaining my telephone call to you that you understood. I became scared when you wrote something like you both did not want any telephone contact with me. Although I know that it wasn't true, it meant to me that you were abandoning me and that you were cutting ties with me. What I stated, in anger, was not, is not and never has been what I really think of you. Often, most people say things out of anger that they really don't mean in an effort to really hurt someone. I am sorry that I hurt you, but that really isn't the way that I think about you. I'm sorry that I cannot count on you to be there for me...you and Judy were the only ones in the family that I could. So, you just throw away many years over this situation and basically don't want contact with me. Sounds a bit harsh. I guess, if I go into the hospital again, Adrian will notify you by email. How long are you both going to punish me for which I have already apologized. Is this a lost cause that I cannot do anything more about? I guess, we will go through the rest of our lives via email. I love you.

Love,
Coleen

[Okay, now I am reacting and not being thoughtful.  However, I was slightly aware of this and didn't care because I was so angry. But, there is progress as I was aware that I was making a choice.  A year ago, I was far from being able to do this.]

Sent 4/26/10; To: Arleen; BCC: Adrian; From: me

I am sorry if I hurt your feelings in the last email. But, I think, I am trying to obtain something that I will never have with you which is an open, loving, caring, supportive and understanding relationship.

Love,
Coleen

[Not a very wise thing to say...now, I am fragmenting more]

Received 4/26/10; To: Me; BCC: Judy, Adrian

Coleen! You didn't JUST hurt my feelings...you stabbed me in the heart and disrespected my love for you...how can that ever be completely healed???? And before you ask for an open, loving, caring supportive and understanding relationship you need to look deep within your own heart and soul...are YOU really capable of this yourself???? As I said I will love you and care about you always, but a relationship works both ways. I have tried to be so open and honest with you, but you obviously are hiding many things from me and everyone else...how do you expect to heal your soul by hiding and lying to yourself. I hope you read this and can understand, if not, then good luck with your life and be well and try to love the man that has stood beside you thru all this.

Love, Arleen

[This is definitively written by Judy who is escalating in her fragmentation.]

This is a part of what I was dealing with last week and it continues.  I had six hours of therapy four is the norm and a scheduled appointment with my psychiatrist. I also promised not to respond/react to Arleen or Judy without speaking with my therapist first, so as to stay out of "trouble." Needless to say, I am very angry and hurt by the above. It is mostly untrue.  I also demonstrated BPD characteristics by only seeing Judy as bad and I was feeding my own anger by ruminating about it.  Additionally, I thought that I was a "bad person."  Once, I was able to stop this I was able to be thoughtful about the emails.

I am beginning to realize that Arleen is choosing to be in an emotionally abusive relationship which saddens me as I am unable to speak with her directly without going through Judy who has effectively cut off communication with me.   I am angry at both of them, but really disappointed that I cannot communicate with Arleen.

So there is my Monday!  I'm not through with the exhaustion of my week yet...sheesh.  I know that this is long, so for those who read it "thank you."  I also hope that it helped you to understand more about the issues and challenges that those with  Borderline Personality Disorder face, all the time.

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