Month: <span>June 2020</span>

WHY DO BP/NPs CHANGE THEIR MINDS SO MUCH?

As I was reflecting on the BP/NP’s changeable, erratic, and frequent reversals in thoughts, feelings, and actions, it became clear to me that they are constantly and often suddenly changing things around. This creates much confusion and bewilderment for you.

For example: They’ll be fanatically focused on one thing, e.g. moving to the Baja, buying a new car, socializing with a certain person, and by the time you’re finally agreeable, the BP/NP seems to have forgotten about that passion and may even be embracing the opposite idea. Now you feel muddled, disoriented, and also annoyed or angry.

Why do they do this? Several symptoms of the disorder can help explain this.

BP/NPs are always in the NOW.

They frequently refuse to discuss or even think about anything in the past—which includes 5 minutes ago. They talk about the future but usually in fanciful and unrealistic ways. To the BP/NP this moment, this feeling, this idea right now is the only one that’s important. That’s why they have such passion, zeal, and emotional reactions. All their energy is focused on this moment. This can be very exciting, but also overwhelming and out of control. It also makes it hard to discuss anything else, make future plans, or trust anything they say.

BP/NPs have very poor memories.

Their extremely strong emotional reactions to things in the moment seem to result in fewer memories being put down. When one moment is over, they’re into the next moment. They can even contradict themselves in the same sentence, because they don’t remember what they just said. This is totally crazy-making to you. It’s deeply frustrating when you’re hurting from what they’ve said or done, and they seem to have completely forgotten it.

BP/NPs just want to feel good.

They spend almost all their energy trying to be in control, which they think will make them feel safer and happier. Their emotions are often so strong, variable, and unhappy that they spend tons of time on trying to feel good. They pay very little attention to how you’re feeling and what you want. They try hard to get you to go along with their ideas convinced that they’ll feel better if you do. If they can’t get your cooperation by being pleasant and appealing, they’ll flip to attacking and blaming, and then back and forth. Their focus is entirely on convincing you that they’re right and you should agree that they often forget what they really wanted in the first place—to feel good.

The BP/NP’s plans often fail.

BP/NPs are easily sidetracked by their changeable emotions, competing goals, lack of memories, and fears of looking bad. People with BPD are usually very poor at planning or following through. While those with NPD are often so single-minded that they forget about the other people and events that they need to arrange in order to reach their goal. So, they end up with a lot of failures. Their inner fears and vulnerabilities demand that they blame others for things that fail, and quickly move onto the next new thing—which they’re convinced will be fabulous.

BP/NPs have little empathy.

They’re barely aware that you’ve been inconvenienced, upset, or confused by their sudden changes of ideas, feelings, or reactions. They’re not good at reading body language or facial expressions in others. They typically misread others’ reactions as primarily negative and threatening. So, they’re always on the defensive, trying to save their own shaky self-esteem rather than tuning into what is happening for you.

What can you do?

  1. Remember that most of what BP/NPs say they want to do, or are going to do, will never materialize.
  2. Always have a plan B for yourself and your kids.
  3. Try not to take anything they say or do personally. They’re in their own peculiar fantasy world.
  4. Don’t attack back. That will only make things worse.
  5. Keep your eye on your own goals and keep moving toward them.

Avoiding Drama

Dramas happen in every relationship. When you’re involved with a borderline or narcissist, dramas happen a lot. Often the issue being fought over is less important than the underlying reason the drama is happening.

Typically, dramas that happen over and over are really about control, dominance, or anxiety. Underlying issues often include:

Who gets to make the decisions?
Who is right?
Who has the most power?
Who is needing reassurance?
Who is feeling unimportant, abandoned, or disregarded?

It’s easier to see the borderline or narcissist’s distress, than your own. You may not even notice your own anxieties and need for control or your fears about not being loved, but they also contribute to the dilemma. So, you fight it out over things like who left the toilet seat up, or who didn’t clean up or put things away.

If you want to stay out of these dramas, here are some steps to take:

Speak up right away.
When something isn’t working for you, mention it in the moment. Don’t discount your feelings, think about it for days, and then blow up. State your preferences clearly and quickly.

Talk about yourself. 
Say: “I would like, I want, I would prefer,” rather than “YOU did, you think, you want.”

Listen carefully.
What feelings do you recognize in yourself and the other person? What do you think the real issue is? Can you put the issue into a clear sentence in your mind?

Observe and share. 
For example: “I hear that disagree with me, and I notice that you look angry. Is there something more we should talk about?”

Yes, and… 
Don’t dismiss or discount your partner’s feelings or your own. Instead, state his/her feelings and add your own feelings and views. “You’d like to watch the game all day Saturday, AND I’d like to spend some time just the two of us together.” Using AND instead of BUT indicates that you are valuing his/her preferences as well as your own. It encourages both of you to problem solve, instead of arguing.

Walk away.
Whenever you notice negative changes in facial expressions or body language, voices being raised, or hurtful and angry comments, it’s a sign that you’ve moved into DRAMA. Instead of a discussion between partners, you’re now adversaries. It’s a sign to STOP the interaction. You both may find that you want to keep pushing to get your point across, but everyone is too activated to solve anything at this point. If the issue is important, you can come back together when you’re both calm, and finish discussing things again.

Stay respectful.
Don’t engage the borderline or narcissist about their behavior in the moment. Asking “What’s wrong?” or saying, “That was rude,” will likely start a fight. Hostile words thrown out during dramas can haunt the relationship for years. If the borderline/narcissist continues to be hostile, rude, or disrespectful, that’s a sign to walk away, not escalate by saying something nasty to them.

Dramas that can’t be solved by talking. 
Dramas that happen when either of you has been drinking, using drugs, or is emotionally or physically exhausted, can’t be talked out. Mental illness is also a drama that you can’t solve. If you’re with a borderline, narcissistic, severely depressed, bi-polar, or psychotic partner, those issues are NOT something that you can cure or fix. The person needs to get professional help before your relationship can move forward.

Certain feelings may develop over the life of a relationship that cannot be healed. These include scorn, passive aggression, bitterness, resentment and lack of trust. When the scars are too deep, the relationship may need to be let go. Continually fighting and creating drama about these issues doesn’t solve the problems and only adds more anger and hurt. Let go instead of continuing to pour hostility onto each other–for your sake and the sake of your children.