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I need to vent about this for a little while, so my thanks in advance to anyone who chooses to read through this essay on the lack of understanding that people have for the non's experiences with the BPD.

The above passage entirely describes my experience, and describes my feelings of the last few days. I have been dealing for the last couple of days with just these issues. It is impossible to describe to friends what it is like dealing with the borderline. Even friends that love and support you still are not really capable of understanding unless they have lived through the same experiences.

I, too, have a mother that has BPD, which is, no doubt, why I fell into relationship with a woman that has BPD. With my mother and my ex, more so the latter, I have experienced that bone-chilling feeling when looking into the eyes of pure evil directed toward me. I have experienced being the recipient of utter contempt, of abject hatred, having nothing whatsoever to do with real world circumstance. I have experienced that flood of hatred and contempt that is perhaps most noteworthy simply for its purety, it's unmitigated wholeness, its essence untinged by the slightest suggestion of goodwill or affection.

And sadly, I too have experienced the inability to convey to others in any comprehensible way the nature of relationship with an active BP.

I'm well past most of that now; I have a happy life, my law practice is doing well now that I am focusing on it again; I get along well with my BPX, and have committed to being friends with her so we can give our 3 y/o daughter an excellent life. All of this is working, and my little girl is wonderful and HEALTHY. My BPX is as committed as am I to my daughter's life. My BPX embraces her problems, is undergoing therapy, taking medication, etc. It is all largely a success story now.

I exercise healthy boundaries; I try not to let my BPX's periodic flareups bother me; I know her problems are not mine, they are not about me, I am not responsible for her conduct or her feelings. I have only as much contact with her as I am willing and able to have. Yata yata, I know all of this, and I embrace it all.

However, in spite of all of this, sometimes it still gets to me, like this week.

One of my best friends, who has been with me all along this path, who has heard all of this, etc., etc., still does not get it. We are both involved in Landmark Education, a group which I commend to all; it is an institution committed to helping people develop the tools to have an extradorinary life, unfettered by the limitations the past would place on us. It is about creating out of the future, and not the past. I love the work they do there, and intend to participate for years to come.

My friend is very wrapped up in this work, and means well. He just doesn't understand BPD. The other day, he suggested that I allow for the possibility of my BPX becoming part of the Landmark community; that I invite her into this space that is for me a safe place, a place where I am free from her unwanted and unwarranted BPD episodes of hatred and contempt.

We have discussed this before, and indeed, my BPX has asked if I would mind if she joins this community. She used to be part of it in another city a decade ago. I told her that while I have no control over her choices, I would prefer that she not, because she has her own communities. She is in AA; she is also in SLAA. She has communities where she feels safe, etc. Landmark is my place to feel safe, and I do NOT want her in it. THis is a boundary for me, and it is, I believe, a healthy one, necessary for the preservation of my sanity and advancement of my and my daughter's success and happiness.

So I again tried to describe to my friend what BPD is like and why I do not wish to expose myself to my BPX's attacks in a community where I go for safety and development. Then I let it go.

And that night - two days ago - I went to my daughter's preschool for her first little choir concert. This is the first time my BPX and I have attended something in the same place for my 3 y/o. And predictably, on two occasions that night, my BPX had episodes of contempt/hatred/splitting. It was a truly vile reminder of exactly why I do NOT want any more contact with my BPX than I feel it is safe to have. ANd it was a clear reminder of why I do NOT want my BP ex participating in Landmark.

Strangely, my reaction to this was the predictable reaction to the BPX, but worse, I have felt angry at and betrayed by my good friend. In spite of all that I have been through, in spite of the long conversations we have had about BPD and about my experiences with my X, in spite of my friend's not inconsiderable intellect and ability to grasp abstract concepts - in spite of all of these things - HE JUST DOESN'T GET IT.

He thinks it's ok to suggest that I should consider the possibility of my ex joining the community; that I should willingly consider inviting her into this place that for me has been a safe haven, free of her BP behaviour and the contamination that it brings with it.

I will add, here, on an aprapos note, that my BPX and I were both part of a different community of growth and development before, a community wherein I met the friend of whom I am speaking. ANd guess what happened in this other community? My poor, BPX had not all, but a fair number of members of the community thinking that I was a bad person b/c I would not marry her when she tricked me into an "accidental" pregnancy. I got to the point where I could not stand the organization anymore, in part because I was sick of the lack of understanding and the periodic criticisms I heard from people therein.

Some of the women in that community would not speak to me at gatherings, and they would employ a truly artful form of presence without conversation, in order to make it abundantly clear that they were not speaking to me. To them, I was a horrible person who was making my poor BPX face pregnancy and parenthood as a single woman; little did they know of the tantrums, the verbal and physical attacks, the contempt, the hatred . . . etc., etc., etc.

The events in this other community were all before my BPX was diagnosed. Granted, now is a different time. But, nonetheless, I HAVE BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT. And my FRIEND was there too. He saw it all. How can he not understand? HOW, on EARTH, can he suggest that I should open the door on even the POSSIBILITY of this happening again in another community?

I will not. I cannot. It would be ludicrous. I am reminded again of a couple of old sayings. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. And the old definition of insanity, about doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result.

So, for whatever reason, I have felt disgusted and betrayed that my friend does not comprehend the situation, in spite of all that has happened in the last four years. I have felt disgusted and betrayed that he should suggest that I open the door to anything like this happening again.

Unless someone has been in a relationship with a BP, or unless one is trained in the healthcare professions, one SIMPLY CANNOT UNDERSTAND what it is to be in relationship with a BP. My several friends who are psychiatrists and psychologists understand this. The people on this list Whirlwind understand this. Unfortunately, my best friend does not.

There are the rare people - like A.J., our moderator - (and web master of this site) who recover from this terrible illness. IMHO, they are the exception, rather than the rule. I will not look at the world through rose-colored glasses; I will not assume that my BP ex is "all better now," and allow her to come in and contaminate a community that I value and need.

Indeed, the chief reason that I am doing so much better now is because I have maintained healthy boundaries and kept my X out of my life as much as the welfare of my child will permit, in order to forward that very welfare, as well as my own.

I wish there were a way to convey this to my well-meaning friend who wants the world to be a warm, fuzzy place full of warm, fuzzy possibilities. The world is that; but it is also other things. To ignore those other things is to ignore the world as it is.

Pigs do not fly.

Iron does not magically transform itself to gold.

There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

And - with some noteworthy exceptions - BP's do not suddenly, magically become warm, fuzzy, safe people. No matter how much we want them to.

I can create the possibility that my neighbor's pit bull terrier will become a charming lap dog. I can want and discuss that possibility; I can do things to make it become possible. I can help the neighbor send it to obedience school. And on days when the dog is friendly, I can pet it and even like it.

But if I step into the neighbor's yard and get bitten, or if I invite the pitbull terrier into my living room and get mauled, then who do I have to blame? Myself, and myself alone, for making a bad choice and for ignoring reality.

I will not ignore reality again; that propensity is what kept me in the relationship with my BPX to begin with. I will NOT make that mistake again.

I think this is an example of making healthy choices. I think it is an example of maintaining healthy boundaries, that single most-essential element necessary for success in dealing with a BPD.

Unfortunately, however, all of this is also an example of the isolation of human experience in dealing with a BP. I do not wish that experience on my friends; I just wish that they understood it.


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