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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘BPD’

Chronicles of Crises In Our Communities – 6/10/11

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Dear Readers,

In Chronicles of May 20, a woman wrote of her mental and emotional torment in her relationship with an abusive spouse whose behavior, she believed, was chad written in response to an earlier column that had addressed the subject of BPD.) The letter below offers a different perspective on the disorder as another reader lets us in on her struggle with a troubled loved one.

 

Dear Rachel,

I am someone who has a loved one with borderline personality disorder. When BPD first appeared in full force, I thought my loved one would outgrow or “get over it,” but no such thing happened. I consulted with many different mental health professionals before the behavior was finally diagnosed as BPD.

The first thing I did after researching BPD on the Internet was to pick up a copy of Walking on Eggshells (the book recommended by a reader in this column) at my local Barnes and Noble. Though it gave me some insight into the disorder, its approach, as I learned, is completely contrary to what can actually be of help.

The book describes the symptoms of BPD pretty accurately but advises a tough love approach, and nothing could be worse for a BPD than ”tough love.” I found this out first hand. Upon further research, I found a support group under the name of TARA (located in Manhattan) that completely enlightened me.

I discovered two very important facts about BPD: 1) It is definitely a neurobiological disorder, in that the nervous system in a person with BPD is extremely sensitive. It is almost as if people with BPD have two layers of skin, as opposed to the normal seven, thereby causing them to feel both physical and emotional sensations much more acutely than other people. Therefore, if the environment surrounding a person with BPD is in any way chaotic or dysfunctional, the BPD disorder will become apparent very soon.

2) Though it often feels that way, a person with this disorder is not doing things on purpose, Though the person afflicted with BPD does not mean to act the way he or she does, any slight change, rejection or difficulty can put the BPD person in a foul mood. These mood swings are not to be confused with bipolar disorder; persons with BPD never reach the highs that bipolars do, only the lows.

The treatment for a person with BPD involves a dual strategy. The first is for the family to really understand what is going on. The person with BPD feels tremendous guilt, shame and fear and does not know how to cope. They often hurt themselves, engage in reckless behavior and have episodes of deep depression.

The course at TARA is very rigorous, but at the same time very enlightening, and it explains the disorder in great detail. BPD afflicts many families; attendees consisted of social workers, doctors and other professionals with loved ones who have BPD. They, as I, were at their wits end and had come to seek support and assistance. We were taught different ways of dealing with our loved ones – far more effective than tough love – that could potentially begin to alter some of the BPD’s irrational thinking.

The second aspect of the recommended approach is to encourage the person with BPD to get specialized therapy called DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) that very simply teaches a BPD person how to cope. It helps them set realistic goals and find a balance between the all black or all white world that they live in.

The DBT therapy, developed by Marsha M. Linehan, PhD (an expert in BPD), has been proven to be the most successful therapy for BPD as it deals with the present and not the past. Staying in the past is yet another manifestation of the disorder; BPDs remain stuck in the past, often feeling abandoned and left out while everyone around them is moving on.

I learned a great deal in the support group, which while not perfect is very helpful. I am still trying to convince my loved one to attend DBT therapy, and I hope he will in the near future.

A supporting spouse

 

Dear Supporting,

You sound like a most remarkable person who, in addition to being a dedicated and loving wife, has been blessed with amazing stamina and levelheadedness.

Though sufferers of this malady may not display identical symptoms, the one thing they ought to have in common is a strong and stable support system. Your spouse is most fortunate to have you – a true helpmate in every sense of the word – in his life.

Thank you for sharing your personal experience for the benefit of our readers.

May Hashem continue to keep you strong and imbue your loved one with serenity of mind and heart.

* * * * *

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to  rachel@jewishpress.com  or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.

 

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 5/20/11

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Dear Readers,

Back in February of this year we published a letter from a worn out young mother (Am I for real?) who could hardly hold her own as she tried coping with her husband’s anger issue. In a follow-up letter, a reader (A long-suffering victim) strongly sympathetic toward this young mother, suggested that the husband’s behavior was symptomatic of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). Our second writer also recommended a book on the subject (Stop Walking on Eggshells by Mason and Kreger) that had helped her come to grips with her own husband’s erratic behavior.

The following letter was written by yet another of these tragic, long-suffering wives.

 

Dear Rachel,

I am a non-Jewish young woman who works with a Jewish family and happens to love reading your articles. I have been married for four years and feel like my marriage is not of G-d but of the Satan. I am writing in reference to the letter “Am I for real?” — which made me realize that no matter your race, your culture or your creed, we all go through the same problems.

I most certainly can identify with this young woman. My husband portrays the same behavior/symptoms as BPD. I have realized for a while that my husband had a problem and thought it was ADHD. I just couldn’t figure it out.

But of course he won’t admit that he has a problem and blames me for every argument or just anything he can blame me for. He’s like a child who does not take responsibility for his wrong actions. He is a very angry, disgruntled, insulting, irrational and disrespectful individual. He scares my children who dislike him immensely and are upset with me for marrying him. My daughter was happy to leave for college last September; she positively hates him and has told him that she does not like the way he treats me and makes me cry.

He professes his undying love for me and yet he treats me like a doormat. He calls me mean names and is verbally abusive. I keep searching myself for faults and wonder why he hates me, yet he says he loves me. I sometimes think of suicide just to be away from him. I ran away once, but he found me.

We have been to therapist/counselors, but it seems to help for only a little while. Then he’s back to being the big, bad, mean wolf again. I don’t even know how to cope anymore, and yes, I feel like I’m walking on eggshells in my home. I will certainly buy this book (recommended by a reader) and see if I can find help and a way to cope before I lose my sanity.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story. This column is most helpful, and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one going through these issues, like I thought. I actually know other women out there going through this and who are scared and ashamed to talk about it.

Though my husband feels that going to a therapist is just a way for them to make money, I want to go because I need to overcome my fears of having to live like this for the rest of my life, if I have to stay in this marriage.

I am a good person, a good wife and a good mother, and I love life, but sometimes I feel like giving up.

Please daven for me… I need all the prayers for healing and happiness in my life and marriage.

Be Blessed…

 

Dear Blessed,

Thank you for your kind words. It is most gratifying to know that this column touches readers beyond the circumference of our Jewish reading circle.

An informative series on the topic of BPD specifically, authored by Simcha and Chaya Feuerman, debuted in the April 29 Family Issues section of this paper. The articles feature an in-depth analysis on a not so cut-and-dried malady. (Readers are cautioned against self-diagnosis and/or reaching a definitive conclusion without the corroboration of a professional therapist.)

My dear reader, you have availed yourself of psychotherapy and yet your agony persists unabated. Your children suffer as well, and you live with a constant fear of your “very angry, disgruntled, insulting, irrational and disrespectful” husband.

Have you ever asked yourself what this man, your husband of four years, offers you besides torment and misery? Does he possess any positive qualities to speak of? Do you still love him (assuming you once did)? Have you a shred of respect left for the man who professes to love you – yet treats you like dirt? What makes you say, “…if I have to stay in this marriage?” (Who says you have to…?)

That only you can provide the answers to these questions goes without saying. In the meanwhile, whenever your instincts tell you that the “big, bad mean wolf” is about to launch one of his stinging verbal assaults, wordlessly remove yourself from his presence. Go for a walk, go on an errand, go visit a friend, just go! Without your tears and obvious distress to feed his rage, his ire will lose its edge; with no fuel added to the ire, the fire will sputter and turn into smoldering ashes.

Living with a Jekyll and Hyde (a person who alternately displays good and evil personalities) is wearing and draining. You say you love life yet have entertained thoughts of giving up on that life. Should Mr. Hyde continue to hide behind the evil Dr. Jekyll, allowing the latter to play front and center despite all the therapy sessions meant to clean up his act, you might want to give some serious thought to reclaiming your sanity, your self-assurance, your self-dignity, and your life . . . before it’s too late.

May G-d grant you strength and the presence of mind to do the right thing. There’s certainly no mitzvah in tolerating an abusive relationship.

* * * * *

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to  rachel@jewishpress.com  or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 3/25/11

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The following letters are in response to Am I for real? (Chronicles, February 18)

 

My Dear Friend,

I could have written your letter. I too am a frum woman, married for many years, with wonderful and healthy children B”H.  My husband functions normally to the outside world, but inside the house it’s a different story. He angers easily, rages, has distorted thinking, makes false (and negative) accusations (and believes and acts on them), twists my words, is unstable and so much more.

I began to question my own sanity. I have developed physical and emotional symptoms as a way to cope with the insanity in my home. He can be a terror, yet, at other times, he can be so sweet and loving.

Within the past year, I have done much research on borderline personality disorder and have recognized that my husband suffers from this very serious and complex mental disorder. You must research this condition and see if the behavior/symptoms fit those of your husband. Please read the book Stop Walking on Eggshells by Mason and Kreger. When I read it, lightbulb after lightbulb went off for me; I felt the author was describing all the craziness that goes on in my home.

At the core of the borderline condition is a deep-seated fear of abandonment/rejection. This would explain your husband’s rages when you are not physically available to him, even though the reasons may be totally rational to you and me. People with BPD are not rational. They operate on a purely emotional level and are unable to regulate their emotions.

Since they can hide their craziness from the rest of the world, those who suffer the most are those closest to them. You must get help for yourself since people with BPD are not likely to admit to having a problem. You need to be strong and healthy for your children. Read as much as you can about this disorder, get a therapist who understands what you are going through and begin to reclaim your life.

You are not crazy. You are involved with a severely disordered individual who can bring you down with him. Don’t let it happen.

I wish you much hatzlacha with this very big nisayon, and if you wish to be in touch with me, please do so through Rachel.

A long-suffering victim

 

Dear Rachel,

I think you overlooked a very important part of her letter. She says that her husband is “constantly losing his temper, screaming, yelling and hitting the kids.”

I grew up with a father like that. He made my mother’s life miserable and we all carry scars from living with a man who often exploded and lashed out, most often for minor things. I remember him going nuts because he thought I put too much coffee in my own coffee cup. Another time he went ballistic because he felt the stream of water was too much while I was washing the dishes.

Something has to be done to protect the children. The woman who wrote the letter needs counseling on how to deal with her husband and the abuses he inflicts on their children.  Marriage counseling is important for the marriage, but whether she chooses to do that or speak to a spiritual advisor, someone has to look out for those children.

If the mother cannot discuss intimacy issues with her husband (as when they need to be apart), I highly doubt she is doing much to protect those poor children from their out-of-control father.  They are sure to suffer some psychological damage, as I did.

Been there…

 

Dear Readers,

Unfortunately, it is difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain the root of one’s problem from a single letter with scant information. If the troubled wife will heed our advice and seek professional counsel to help her deal with her problematic marital relationship, its negative impact on their children will be appropriately addressed and dealt with.

Thank you for weighing in with your informative comments, which are obviously based on your own experiences. Experience, as they say, is the best teacher. By sharing yours, you not only help countless others cope more effectively with their own circumstances but also give them strength in the knowledge that they are not alone and that help is within reach.

* * * * *

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to  rachel@jewishpress.com  or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-496/2011/03/23/

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