January 2, 2012

Penelope Trunk, Abuser

penelope trunk bruise.jpg

I am accustoming myself to the idea of regarding every sexual act as a process in which four persons are involved. We shall have a lot to discuss about that

Catchy title, no?  I put it there for the stupid people.  If you think I support domestic abuse-- if you think my not explicitly writing, ad nauseum, "NO TOLERANCE" or "IT'S NOT THE VICTIM'S FAULT" is evidence that I think that "sometimes the bitch deserves it," then I can tell you without error that 2012 is going to be way too complicated a year for you to endure, and you are seeing a psychiatrist, and it isn't helping.  Stop being you.  The world does not have to validate your prejudices.  Take a minute, you may learn from people you disagree with.

I tried my best to read through the comments on Trunk's blog relating to her domestic abuse post, written by people who don't keep diaries about their own abuse history.    "YOU NEED TO LEAVE!!!!!"  Assuming you had a similar experience, how long did it take you to leave that earns you the right to a caps lock? 

But the title is deadly correct, DEADLY-- see, I earned the right to a caps lock.  Here's why, and I expect almost no one to agree with it but hear it once in your life anyway, maybe you make a left instead of a right or you take two more seconds at the light. 


II.

Penelope Trunk is a blogger/entrepreneur who is notorious for being "too much information" honest about her life.  She recently posted about (yet another) fight with her husband, and posted the pic you see above.

I'm pretty sure she doesn't want my advice, but in the spirit of putting herself out there,  I hope she won't mind my using her story to explain something that may help other people.  And if I end up being wrong about her specifically, or if it turns out she made the whole thing up, it won't have any effect on the message.

The adage in psychiatry is you can't make a diagnosis without evaluating someone.  That's fine, except that personality disorders aren't diagnoses, they are descriptions of behaviors.  So stand down.

Penelope Trunk has a history of sexual abuse by her father.  She has a pattern of intense, unstable relationships; a history of self-cutting, bulimia; is emotionally labile and reactive; and her primary defense mechanism is pretty obviously splitting, i.e. things are all good or they are all bad. 

Trunk says she has Asperger's, and maybe she does, but what I've described is "borderline personality disorder."  BPD is not a description of behavior exactly, it is a description of an adaptive coping strategy.  In other words, people persist with BPD because it works.

"Works" has a limited definition for borderline: prevention of abandonment.   Narcissism protects the identity at the expense of everything else, Borderline will do whatever it takes to avoid abandonment, including giving up one's identity.  Abandonment isn't loneliness or isolation, a person can run away to the woods for a year if it preserves the connection to the other person, even in a terrible way: "I'm hiding out because he's out there looking for me to kill me."

The currency of borderline is affect.  Energy.  The analogy is the kid who doesn't get enough attention, so acts out: he would rather have hugs and kisses, but he'll settle for the same amount of affect in any other form of attention, including anger and yelling.  Negative affect has long term consequences, duh, but short term no affect is completely intolerable.  Observe (start at 25s):




The temptation is to view the baby as upset, but in fact what he is doing is trying anything to get her attention, including screaming.  This is why what he is is frustrated, and why it is called acting out.

That plays out into adulthood.  Knock down fights and great make up sex is psychologically more fulfilling than a normal, calm, low-affect marriage.  Mind numbing jealousy is preferable to being 100% sure of their fidelity, to the point that the brain becomes paranoid to keep things interesting.   "Are you just looking for things to be upset about?"  The answer is yes.  You think Megan Fox's character in the Rihanna video is ever going to settle down with someone who doesn't wear a tank top to facilitate punching?

Why are borderlines attracted to broken men?  To alcoholics?  To rageful narcissists?  Affect.  "I never know what mood he'll be in."  The range, the energy means you are connected.  No abandonment is conceivable if the guy is beating you.  "But he cheats on her as well!"  He'll be back.  Right?

This is set up in childhood 100% of the time.  The kid learns what works, learns what gets him the affect he needs.  If the parents are loving all the time not much "work" is necessary.    But if Dad is distant, or interested in chasing skirts (such daughters grow up trying to look like the kind of girl Dad is attracted to), or mom's always drunk, then "work" happens, and the kid starts to try new ways of getting the affect, and unfortunately the easiest way to get sucky parents to give you affect is to enrage them.  That works awesomely.  The best is when the parent beats you mercilessly, and then does a 180 and apologizes profusely, hugs you, buys you gifts, "oh, baby, I am so sorry I did that, Daddy was just upset..."  Nothing in life will ever match up to that, except maybe a boyfriend who does that.  If you are doing that to your daughter, for god's sake join an infantry battalion or become a test pilot.

Remember: the goal of this strategy is not happiness, it is avoiding abandonment.  Hence a blog.

The thing is, BPD "works" when you are young, there are always people around to tolerate it.  Parents, boyfriend/girlfriend, employers, etc-- and being pretty, which Trunk obviously is, helps a lot.  This doesn't mean people are necessarily nice to her, or that she's happy; only that  "crazy" behavior is more tolerable to other people when you are young.

The problem for her is she's not getting any younger, and like it or not the only one who will put up with a 60 year old borderline is no one.  Except maybe the kids, which we will get back to.

III.

Telling Trunk to leave her husband is just plain stupid, and if that was your recommendation you should stop making recommendations, you're stupid.  You can't reduce the complexity of a marriage to "he hit you, so you should leave."  I know stupid people, I know, domestic violence shouldn't be tolerated, god are you dumb.

If she chooses to leave, fine, but trying to convince her to leave pushes her towards her worst fear: abandonment.  She either decides to leave, or she doesn't, it must be 260% her decision or else it feels like it isn't all her decision, which means the split is felt like abandonment even though she "did" it.  She'll go insane.  You advising her to leave means she can't.

It also betrays a gigantic amount of arrogance.  This woman who may possibly be a nut has, at least, raised kids, managed businesses, and even survived moving to Wisconsin.  And you're going surprise her with "domestic violence is not okay?"  But the truth is you don't actually want her to leave, you just want a forum where you can take credit for telling her to do it.

She wants this relationship.  She's not a bad or good person for wanting it, it is what it is.   I can say I have my own opinions about what to do and blah blah blah, but the starting point has to be what she wants, not what you think is best for her; otherwise at best what will happen is she ignores your advice, and at worst is she takes it.

Nothing is to be gained by saying her husband abuses her, which he does.  The real story is that  she is abusing herself.  I'm not judging her, I'm not saying she is bad or that I don't understand it, but she's setting up, well, a pattern of intense, unstable relationships because she needs the intensity and will thus tolerate the unstability.  A relationship isn't one sided, or bi-directional, it's a dialectic.  They are very much in it together.

If you wanted to help (someone like) her, you have to take the focus away from her, put some objectivity into it.  So start with her strengths.  What is she good at?  Raising her kids, for one thing.  She may have doubts about her methods or her attention span, but ultimately she takes it all into account and creates an environment that is best for them.  Okay, so a good place to start is: how she runs her life, how she runs her relationship, will be inevitably mirrored by her kids.  She probably knows this.

What she may not know, however, is that the mirroring doesn't mean her boys will grow up likely to hit their women, but that it is more likely her boys will grow up falling for women like her. Or picking someone in reaction to her.


part 2 soon


http://twitter.com/thelastpsych










Comments

Friends and I joked that ev... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 1:56 PM | Posted by TJIC: | Reply

Friends and I joked that every TLP post boils down to "He/she is a narcissist...and why are you reading this blog? Because you're a narcissist too!".

...so imagine my shock when the N word is conspicuously not used in this post.

Trunk is a narcissist par excellence, and how does she start off this controversial post of hers?

With a soft-core porn shot (likely hand picked from the 15 or 20 she took, in order to get JUST the right curve of ass cheek, and JUST the right hint of almost-genitals showing). And what's that on her hip? A black and blue mark about the size of a penny.

Shit.

I get bigger bruises than that repairing a lawn mower and walking past my machinist's vise, and I don't even notice it until later when I'm taking a shower.

If pretty much any woman on the planet said that she was being abused, I'd take her side.

...but Trunk? With her history of oversharing, link whoring, and general craziness? I see this picture and this post (and the obligatory 500+ comments saying "We love you Penelope!") and I see a crazy woman who's staged a fight, and maybe, perhaps - after a LOT of work, I'd bet - managed to get herself pushed...or managed to "back away" a bit too quickly and then "accidentally" stumble - and picked up a bruise.

And what happens?

She not only gets attention from her husband, but she gets attention from the entire damned internet, PLUS the police.

Trunk is in love with herself and in love with her drama.

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Thanks for writing about th... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 1:59 PM | Posted by Ryan: | Reply

Thanks for writing about this; I saw your tweet about her and read the latest abuse post. Very interesting.

You tweeted something to the effect of: "Can't you see that blogging is killing you?" I still don't see the connection; how is the blogging, more than the abusive husband/self-abusive behavior patterns hurting her?

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Excellent post. I... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 2:19 PM | Posted by [redacted]: | Reply

Excellent post.

I don't read Penelope's blog, but I like her quite a bit. I know her personally and can comfortably say that I agree with her claims regarding Asperger syndrom. This doesn't take away, at all, from your analysis above.

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"Trunk is a narcissist par ... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 2:32 PM | Posted, in reply to TJIC's comment, by aliz: | Reply

"Trunk is a narcissist par excellence..."
a very objective and thorough diagnosis Herr Freud.
don't use another person's (bad) experiences as a way to self aggrandize. The AI that writes this blog made this one of his points during this entry and you flew by it. The lady is being beaten, try to understand the context of her situation, at the very least, instead of flexing your E-muscles.
"I get bigger bruises than that repairing a lawn mower and walking past my machinist's vise, and I don't even notice it until later when I'm taking a shower."
that wasnt written by accident.

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<a href="http://thirdtierre... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 2:44 PM | Posted by Nando: | Reply

http://thirdtierreality.blogspot.com/

People are going to do whatever the hell they want to do. You could have a mountain range of evidence to back up your claims - and lay it out lucidly - and it will not change their minds.

Look at how many law school lemmings try to attack me personally, when I simply point out that the law schools: (a) are charging too much tuition; (b) pumping out FAR TOO MANY graduates for the available number of lawyer positions; and (c) do not prepare students to practice law. Since these idiots have their hearts set on law school, they believe that the people such as me - and those with several years' experience of law practice under their belts - must be awful, terrible people.

In the end, I am not charging them $40K per year in tuition, producing more than 44K grads for roughly 26K legal jobs each year, and or publishing false or misleading job statistics. I am trying to prevent them from ruining their finances - and their future.

Thank you for this public service, Will, and for doing so with a sense of humor.

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"The adage in psychiatry is... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 4:19 PM | Posted by Jessica: | Reply

"The adage in psychiatry is you can't make a diagnosis without evaluating someone. That's fine, except that personality disorders aren't diagnoses, they are descriptions of behaviors. So stand down."

Truest statement I've ever read.

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<a href="http://thirdtierre... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 4:26 PM | Posted, in reply to Nando's comment, by Z. Constantine: | Reply

http://thirdtierrealty.com/

Underwater on your karmic mortgage?

Do not FSBO your soul - read about our operation.

We sell things no one wants to buy!

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The doc is right, it doesn'... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 4:48 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The doc is right, it doesn't matter if Penelope is borderline or not, his essay is spot on for someone who has BPD. ...Yes, that's how I know.

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TJIC, read this first: <a h... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 6:52 PM | Posted, in reply to TJIC's comment, by Daniel: | Reply

TJIC, read this first: http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2007/01/borderline.html

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Brilliant. One of your best... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 8:33 PM | Posted by Kevin Nasky: | Reply

Brilliant. One of your best.
I think that our profession feeds into the "it works" positive reinforcement of borderline behavior. We {mental health] all rush to coalesce around borderlines whenever they act out (suicidal gestures and such). I think the constant readmitting (and readmitting, and readmitting) to hospital psych wards is part of the problem, not the solution. I think borderlines “burn out” in their forties because of what you said: no one tolerates that shit after a certain age! Learning from that phenomena, perhaps we should stop reinforcing the madness. Perhaps the real treatment for borderline is “learned helplessness.” Once the environment stops reinforcing all their drama, the behavior stops. I’m sure that leaves someone far from cured, but at least she’s not cutting. I wonder what the literature says (if anything) about burnt out borderlines. I imagine they remain psych patients but their diagnosis changes. I’ve had a few patients like this—they seem to morph into garden variety depressive neurotics.

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I have borderline PD and ha... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 9:07 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I have borderline PD and have been in therapy for years. I am in the middle of divorcing an extremely abusive spouse; the process has been incredibly painful as he continues to try to manipulate me and hurt me. I would never have been able to do this without the progress I've made, and this is a huge step in my recovery. I was at the point where I would not be able to stay in this relationship and continue to improve.

But, this is brutal. The urges to regress are overwhelming. I don't think it's because I want to re-engage in the bad relationship, but I don't know how to deal with all the churned up feelings when he tries to hurt and manipulate me (and the emotional manipulation clearly works still). I would give anything to be free of that.

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The picture thing does brin... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 9:30 PM | Posted, in reply to TJIC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

The picture thing does bring up a few questions. She could have just as easily cropped the, slightly revealing, parts of the picture out. I don't know if its relevant or not, but it's worth pointing out.

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This post was pretty brilli... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 9:54 PM | Posted by Carlier: | Reply

This post was pretty brilliant, but I will confess to enjoying your fury at your readers more than the (insightful, incisive) content.

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There is no way an autistic... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 11:16 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

There is no way an autistic person would be as manipulative as to post a picture of her ass/poon tang on the interweb. This isn't social retardation, this is a DELIBERATE ATTEMPT to increase the attention delivered her way. And it's working. TLP only wrote this post, as a heterosexual male, he was interested in the picture of the ass/poon tang and so wrote this nonsense.

A real autie wouldn't understand the process of other peoples thoughts, like "I will photograph my naked body, upload it to the interweb, and then revel int he attention I receive". Only a normal NT type person would understand how to do that.

Also, BPD / histrionic PD (which this woman obviously has) is incompatable with autism, as BPD/histrionic behavior are disorders of excessive emotions and high empathy (which is why they are commoner in females), whereas autism features deficient others-directed emotions and deficient empathy.

Any sensory issues, tendancy to be diassociated / numb / not connected appropriately is more typical post abuse/BPD symptomology, as opposed to autism. Her style of writing suggests she is chronically disassociated, which she may confuse for autism, but is more accurately the result of a chronically activated stress response in her brain due to abuse (and is so common in PTSD and BPD).


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PS, when someone is this fu... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 11:20 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

PS, when someone is this fucked up, it is impossible to really know for sure if her interpretation of events is accurate.

Most people with BPD are prone to extreme, aggressive manipulative/malicious behavior. THey view this is logical, a reaction to a very real threat, but I would be suspicious of any OBVIOUS BORDERLINE who claims to be the victim 24/7, constantly being attacked and wronged, with never any retaliatory behaviors or aggression. Never admitting to a freak out, rage, suicidal gesture... it doesn't seem likely.

Her whole BLOG is a manipulative attempt, a concentrated effort to extract sympathy and care, emotional stranglehold over random strangers... so what are the odds that she doesn't behave similarly IRL? Anyone who would author a blog like this... I don't exactly see them suffering and lilting in silence without a rage, freak out, or pair of slashed wrists, or an empty bottle of pills following a screaming rage, etc.

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Oh and I authored the above... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 11:24 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Oh and I authored the above comments... I would like to make it clear I do not blame this person and feel quite badly for wahtever abuses she has suffered.

I just smell the BS a mile away, things are clearly not as they see. This person is very sick, her whole blog is a representation of her sickness and people are feeding into it by reinforcing her self view of being an innocent child victim who has no power to take control of herself and her situation as a grown 30+ year old woman.

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The reason BPDs burn out in... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 11:27 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The reason BPDs burn out in their 40s is because females in general become invisible after 40 years old.

This is because men control society, and men only care about reproductive aged females.

If BPDs could retain the appearance of a 25 year old forever, they would never be forced to switch coping styles (into passive depression/internalization) because male health care professionals and other men in their life would keep on being interested.

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I would also argue that the... (Below threshold)

January 2, 2012 11:29 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I would also argue that the emotional intensity of borderlines interests men as it reminds them of sex.

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I expect almost no one t... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 12:48 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I expect almost no one to agree with it but hear it once in your life anyway, maybe you make a left instead of a right or you take two more seconds at the light.

You're whatever Gotham needs you to be, got it.

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You're whatever Gotham n... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 1:23 AM | Posted by Not Anon: | Reply

You're whatever Gotham needs you to be, got it.

STFU smart ass.

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I've only been reading you ... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 5:24 AM | Posted by Christina D: | Reply

I've only been reading you for about six months and slowly making my way through your archives, but *damn*, this is ever one of your stand-out posts.

I could write an elaborate comment basically repeating and agreeing with many points of your post, but I'll boil it down to - yes. From the limited experience with a (diagnosed) BPD sufferer in my family, this all makes perfect, illuminating sense.

And including that clip of the baby is the perfect illustrative metaphor.

I can barely wait for Part 2.

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but Gotham needs a hero... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 7:21 AM | Posted, in reply to Not Anon's comment, by aliz: | Reply

but Gotham needs a hero

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From what I've read of Trun... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 8:28 AM | Posted by Elisabeth: | Reply

From what I've read of Trunk's blog (it's a mixture between a way too graphic soap opera and a never ending car crash), and the commenters, I agree with this post.

Their relationship (I'm not sure if she and "The Farmer" are married, or perpetually engaged) is completely disfunctional, and she is both 50% responsible for it and seemingly enjoying it.

He writes her out of his will without telling her. She goes off the pill without telling him, gets pregnant, miscarries, then tweets the process of miscarrying. (She considers the two to be equivalent. Maybe they are.)

They fight, he tries to drive away in his car, she blocks him with hers. She doesn't feel that he's being close enough to her, so she walks out in front of him as he's trying to plow a field to ge this attention and can't/won't understand why this doesn't lead to intimate discussions.

It's probably just as well that she claims that she doesn't want to be happy and content. She wants an interesting life - and seems to think that the two are mutually exclusive. She seems to live so that she can write about it and get validation from her commenters.

It clearly makes for an interesting read. I sometimes read it (so I'm not saying I'm above it at all), and she has tens of thousands of readers and subscribers. But she does come across as someone who wilfully refuses to live a healthy life.

After seeing the picture, and realising who it was, I had no intention of advising her to leave. She clearly enjoys the extremes of her relationsip, and writing about it, too much to even consider it.

Women who really fear abusive partners, and want to leave, are too busy finding some way - *any* way - of getting out to attention whore their bruises on the internet. She treats this in the exact same way that she treats every other twist and turn in her messed up relationship.

Anyone who advises her to leave (1) isn't getting the point and (2) is just trying to showcase how right on they are to every one else.

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I agree partially with your... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 10:38 AM | Posted, in reply to Elisabeth's comment, by Empire of Jeff: | Reply

I agree partially with your take. Where I differ is that I don't think she's as truthful as she makes herself out to be.

Her whole existence seems to revolve around creating the Penelope Trunk Brand. So, what does she want you to believe? She doesn't seem to have any problem with lying to advance her goals.
According to one of her "career advice" posts, buying a domain name and selling it qualifies as a "startup" that she later "sold for a small sum." Now, go ahead and put that on your resumé, because Entrepeneur is so impressive to recruiters! Seriously, woman? Who out there is following this retarded advice? I know the only job she's had is Beach Volleyball Pro, but does she think that HR professionals don't do any digging on these claims? Who could read this stuff with an uncritical eye?

Well, her legions of needy commenters, for one. I don't think I've seen a larger collection of people more desperate for approval than her crew. "I love you, Penelope!" "When you don't blog, I miss you."

It is undeniable that she is in this at least partially for the approval of her fake internet friends. But if she is 100% sincere in everything she writes, then that is some scary shit. Because apparently, you can enable a batshit crazy person to make a good living selling their brand of crazy online.

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I am extraordinarily reliev... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 11:07 AM | Posted by iwdw: | Reply

I am extraordinarily relieved that I have never heard of this woman or her blog before now, and I hope to go forward never hearing anything else about her.

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Also, if she's following th... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 11:22 AM | Posted by Empire of Jeff: | Reply

Also, if she's following the Rule of Thirds, then the focus of the picture is her ass and pooter, not the bruise, which is almost out of the frame.

I'm just sayin'.

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Great post, I'm so glad you... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 1:26 PM | Posted by Fall: | Reply

Great post, I'm so glad you wrote this. I was just diagnosed with BPD and am currently reading as much literature as I can find. Would you know it, my favorite blog/homepage wrote an article about it. Just great!

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Trunk wrote this: ... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 2:11 PM | Posted by Carlier: | Reply

Trunk wrote this:

http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2012/01/01/zero-tolerance-for-domestic-violence-is-wrong

as a follow-up, and it seems to confirm much of what TLP says. The entire post is about her and her "taking responsibility" and how she can fix things, as though her abusive husband is some controllable factor in her abuse. She truly believes his abusiveness is about her or them, not him.

Maybe borderlines partner with narcissists not because they crave affect, but because they aren't very discerning at figuring out what affect is. Maybe they believe narcissists' attempts to broadcast their self-image have anything to do with them.

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Yes, and 70% of the clients... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 2:32 PM | Posted by mental health worker: | Reply

Yes, and 70% of the clients I see in out-patient clinics and FCCS are BPD, cluster b's and costing tax payers billions.
Just want to say at least Penelope is not on SSI, and medical, welfare,section 8, DCFS, foster care kids, prison, etc etc.
We can not get medi-cal reimbursement for axis 2 as nothing works. So we have to give an axis 1- pretty easy but never a 40 gaf, and we get the money from fraud.
Just so you tax payers know this. You may want to have caps on tx no longer than 2 yrs, mandated dx on axis 2 and therapists/psychiatrists informing the person of their personality disorder. Most never bother to inform the client of their axis 2 and what to read about it. Serves no one not to explain.
Kevin above has other costs out lined. Tax payers are getting screwed and good with "mental health" services. Most is utter bullshit.

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Personality disorders as st... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 3:11 PM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

Personality disorders as strategies: Judith Herman has a great book, Trauma and Recovery. ch 5 gives a portrayal of how the abusive childhood has an effect - as a survival strategy - on the personality. This influence remains into adulthood. Herman calls the situation "Complex PTSD."

As we encounter clients we perceive as "personality disorders," we should reflect on the idea of complex ptsd, and try to form our view of the client and problems as complex ptsd. This can make you more empathic and give you a better attitude toward working with clients who, normally, are just difficult to work with.

--The other issue with a partner, including a female, who seems to provoke anger in a partner, is not so severe - some people had terrible childhoods, with betrayal or abandonment by a parent - the provocation can be 'testing' -- and can be a matter of having the thought in the back of the mind that the current partner is sure to leave, or sure to act out ragefully or whatever - when the partner actually is not that bad.

The prob is that the abandoned or abused partner has a hard time beleiving that the current partner is not the same, and is testing to finally get an answer.

If the partner never hits or throws a rage, there is always the idea that it has not yet showed up, but will eventually - so better to just make it happen and get it over with.

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Dude your comment is so lad... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 3:35 PM | Posted, in reply to mental health worker's comment, by john: | Reply

Dude your comment is so laden with abbreviations and jargon that I cannot read it. It sounds interesting, and I would like to read it, but I need you to re-write it into standard English so I can do so.

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I guess everybody skimmed t... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 3:47 PM | Posted, in reply to Z. Constantine's comment, by Or: | Reply

I guess everybody skimmed too fast to get the joke.

But speaking of jokes, they can be devastatingly effective when they distill something like this down to its purest elements: http://www.comics.chickennation.com/archive/teenagers/

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"Yes, and 70% of the client... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 4:06 PM | Posted by fvd: | Reply

"Yes, and 70% of the clients I see in out-patient clinics and FCCS are BPD, cluster b's and costing tax payers billions.
Just want to say at least Penelope is not on SSI, and medical, welfare,section 8, DCFS, foster care kids, prison, etc etc.
We can not get medi-cal reimbursement for axis 2 as nothing works."

With an attitude like that, it's so very surprising that nothing you have done has worked! Hint: Cold hearted, burnt out, and hateful mental health workers are a waste of everyone's tax money and not very effective.

Don't worry, I understand why you're burnt out. Dealing with people in terrible pain and causing lot's of pain to others to escape it is destructive to be around. Maybe you could work in a cookie bakery? Warm the cockles of your heart.

Obviously if your job is wasting everyone's money, why don't you stop abusing the system to get your needs for money/employment met? Or perhaps being an abuser when it meets your own needs is acceptable. So why hate others who are doing what they can to get their own needs met in a broken world? You want to put others down, walk the walk. Stop burdening tax payers with your need for a job you don't believe is effective. Stand up and make your money through ethical means without exploiting tax payers who don't deserve to be exploited just so you can have a pretend job that is spending 70% of it's resources on useless services.

YOU are just as much of a burden on tax payers. I think you're just as worthy of forgiveness as those you so despise and dehumanize. Do you even see the humanity of those you have agreed to help? Why are you pretending you want to be in service of them when you hate them? Is the money or the social praise for being the better than those shitty people worth it to you? What do you need from them? Do they make you feel better about your own failings? At least your not them.

I take it you'll be throwing the first stone.

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Hah yeah I briefly shared a... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 4:42 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Hah yeah I briefly shared a house with a borderline 45 year old last year, for an eventful month and a half. The constant need for attention was textbook, and I as you said, was not interested in her crap, probably wouldn't have been even if she was 25, considering.

So, do they grow up out of it?

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I take it you'll be thro... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 5:50 PM | Posted by Empire of Jeff: | Reply

I take it you'll be throwing the first stone

I bruised a cornea on all the irony in that sentence.

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"I would also argue that th... (Below threshold)

January 3, 2012 7:05 PM | Posted by longwinded: | Reply

"I would also argue that the emotional intensity of borderlines interests men as it reminds them of sex."

What kind of sex are you having?

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I'll help!"axis 1"= ... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2012 2:26 AM | Posted, in reply to john's comment, by a_nurse: | Reply

I'll help!
"axis 1"= an inventory of biological/brain illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar. Considered to be opposed to the psychologically / coping driven personality disorders, known as axis 2 inventory.
A psychiatric evaluation has 5 axis: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
1 describes biological illnesses (e.g. schizophrenia, bipolar). This is the meat and potatoes of psychiatric care - mental health illnesses.
2 describes psychologically/coping infuenced illness, known as personality disorders (e.g. cluster a, cluster b, cluster c, and the distinctions within these groups).
3 and 4 describe medical and social factors contributing to the patient's condition. These are largely ignored/deferred.
5 describes the GAF, global functioning scale, which is a numeric representation of the overall snap shot of how well the patient is coping. A homeless severely psychotic man with drug addictions and no employment and very poor hygiene would have an extremely low GAF. On the other hand, a married, employed mother with mild borderline personality traits and no axis 1 disorder and a large family support structure would have a high GAF.

In psychiatric care, compensation by government and insurance companies is structured in such a way that it forces mental health practitioners to diagnose their patients as suffering from severe mental illness (axis 1) , with a low GAF (very ill), just so that they can be treated and compensated.

The OP suggests the system should be changed so that health care professionals can diagnose accurately and still be compensated by insurance companies.... personally I feel that things should stay the way they are and medical practitioners should stop giving normal people with personality problems ineffective psychiatric treatments. Having trauma is not a mental illness and such people should not be in the grips of a psychiatrist. The problem is NOT that insurance will not pay, the problem is that psychiatrists are umbrella netting distressed but mentally healthy people into their clutches out of frigging greed rather than honestly saying to them: you are healthy and do not need sero/depo/whatever. I don't see how a psychiatrist can help un-rape and un-beat a now 34 year old female mother of two, traumatized and fucked up from early life abuses.

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It is a well known stereoty... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2012 2:28 AM | Posted, in reply to longwinded's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

It is a well known stereotype that men are fascinated with "crazy bitches" precisely because of the stereotype that they are sexually extreme.

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She deleted my comment but ... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2012 7:53 AM | Posted by Barnett: | Reply

She deleted my comment but I simply pointed out that lots of people enjoy abuse for whatever reason (low self-esteem/think they deserve it/bad wiring/whatever), so she's in the perfect relationship (or an ideal one, at any rate), and anyone telling her to leave was an idiot.

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She deleted my comment too,... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2012 11:07 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

She deleted my comment too, and all I did was point out it was clever of her to stay in a hotel with a good waxer.

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She also deleted my comment... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2012 11:37 AM | Posted by Former Patient: | Reply

She also deleted my comment.

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Of course she's deleting yo... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2012 11:59 AM | Posted by iwdw: | Reply

Of course she's deleting your comments.

Internet Pity Parties are serious business.

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Wow, I thought it was just ... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2012 12:12 PM | Posted by Tracy: | Reply

Wow, I thought it was just my comment she deleted. I wasn't mean, either, I've been a fan of her blog for the longest but I thought this analysis was too interesting to pass up. I don't think Alone is being mean or judgmental, and I think she should really take this to heart. As he says, he doesn't have to be completely correct for it to be valuable.

FWIW, the observations about abandonment hit too close to home for me, made me rethink a few things.

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This reads like text book f... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2012 1:36 PM | Posted by cliant: | Reply

This reads like text book from the post pros I agree with what they all saying and it all looks all interesting links and points to one political point. Are we cleaver.

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Everyone has missed it and ... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2012 6:46 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Everyone has missed it and it's right in your face.

No stubble. No stray hairs.

She lives on a farm and it's the middle of winter.

You guys all watch too much porn.

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I must say- she is pretty f... (Below threshold)

January 4, 2012 7:04 PM | Posted by Mental Helath Worker: | Reply

I must say- she is pretty funny. Talented personality disorders are much more tolerable.
Her twatter from work.
"I'm in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there's a fucked-up 3-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin."
awesome.

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SRSLY I think I am gonna ta... (Below threshold)

January 5, 2012 5:49 AM | Posted by a_nurse: | Reply

SRSLY I think I am gonna take a picture of my boobs , with a tiny bruise in the corner, and then bitch/moan about how much I am a victim. I will then ask for donations and revel in the anonymous attention / $$$ I Procure.

Good times. Sounds easier than working.

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she deleted my comment also... (Below threshold)

January 5, 2012 1:52 PM | Posted, in reply to Tracy's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

she deleted my comment also

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I have a BPD client who has... (Below threshold)

January 5, 2012 2:10 PM | Posted by WriterQ: | Reply

I have a BPD client who has taught me much about the behaviors. After reading Penelope's blog, I left her comment that she might want to look into BPD instead of Asperger's as a label. She deleted the comment. I was surprised, as she leaves so many volatile comments up. (Began to get it then). When I saw the Bruised-thigh image, I read some of the comments, and left one that suggested this was BPD and not so much domestic violence, and it, too was removed. The next day, when she posted the Zero Tolerance blog, I mentioned that her kids might start to think her behavior was the power behavior in the household and left a link to some BPD sites. That, too, vanished. Now that I've read this, I finally understand. She needs to blog, she needs the volatile comments, she doesn't want anything to help. I need to quit reading her blog, there is no learning or fixing. I need to tend to my own work. Thanks for writing this. It made a lot clear for me.

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A few people have asked wha... (Below threshold)

January 6, 2012 6:05 AM | Posted by AnonyReader: | Reply

A few people have asked what happens after 40 for someone with BPD - my mother is in her mid-50s and is a diagnosed borderline. I believe the diagnosis; splitting has always been her favorite pasttime, there was sexual abuse in her childhood (that she refuses to deal with), and for "emotionally labile and reactive" she's the poster child. When you're a kid, it means "I never know what mood my mother's going to be in or why, all I know is I'm going to pay for it". And you do. Big time. Because that splitting means one or two of three things: she's right and you're evil, and/or, she's right, you have a sibling who's perfect (just like her usually – always wondered about the link to narcissism there), and you are evil; or you're the golden child who can do no wrong (which is hell too, make no mistake). Always a value judgment, never something based on fact (though "facts" such as "you looked at me the wrong way" are often used to support the value judgment).

Before the 40-year-old mark, my mother had actually been able to hold down jobs, usually for 6-12 months. Always ended with her claiming she'd quit due to personality conflicts. She never managed to keep friends for long.

Age 45, she veered from being a hardline evangelical Christian (perfect beliefs for people who use splitting as a defense, btw) to a marijuana-smoking free love "hippy", changed careers (technical to physical therapy), and made noticeable efforts to appear friendly with others where she hadn't before.

But. She had her grown children and husband of 25 years (narcissist who feeds off her drama to puff himself up as a "real man") to take out her BPD when others weren't around. She got worse with me (black sheep child) and my brother (golden child). I finally cut things off; she refused to accept any responsibility for her behaviors and jammed her way through boundaries as if they'd never existed. My brother... apologized for her. Slowly accepted the role she drew for him as confidante and poison container.

Her public face is "better", somewhat. But in her private circle, with the people she doesn't want to abandon her... whoa. It's bad. Before her 40s she was like a destructive train. They run on tracks, so you can kind of predict them – I knew she'd threaten hellfire, humiliation in church, that sort of thing (predictable church-inculcated beliefs). But now? In her 40s and 50s? She's more like a destructive force of nature and you never know which force it will be. "Malicious" is the value judgment that comes to mind. She's learned, in all those years, and now that she feels insecure about her physical appearance (already something she obsessed about younger), she really does not give a shit how much she hurts someone she's decided is evil, and she does it privately. Before she'd pretend she regretted her actions, afterwards. (Pretend, because she'd always do it again and always gave "I'm sorry you made me do that" sort of non-apologies.) Now? Nope.

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There's an episode of "Keep... (Below threshold)

January 6, 2012 7:00 AM | Posted, in reply to WriterQ's comment, by DS: | Reply

There's an episode of "Keeping Up Appearances" where Hyacinth, the overbearing social climber, insists on telling everyone her husband has gout instead of athlete's foot. Because gout is more socially acceptable.

Penelope insists she has Aspergers, and not BPD, because Aspergers elicits sympathy. Her chosen persona is of a woman who succeeds brilliantly despite huge obstacles. BPD doesn't fit in that formula.

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I found this post really in... (Below threshold)

January 6, 2012 7:20 AM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

I found this post really informative. I can think of a couple of people who fit Alone's description of BPD.

Much more speculatively, it's got me wondering about the overlap between BPD and Asperger's Syndrome/autism. As a possible point of overlap: if a child is severely impaired in their ability to interpret facial expressions, eye gaze etc., does the mother always appear to the child to be ignoring them, like in the video of the experiment above?

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Alone,Although it ... (Below threshold)

January 6, 2012 1:19 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alone,

Although it will be difficulty finding someone in the media that has this type of personality, I would be really interested in your perspective on avoidant personality disorder.

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I'm not an expert and every... (Below threshold)

January 7, 2012 7:21 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Iris: | Reply

I'm not an expert and every person is different, but wouldn't a child who can't interpret facial expressions be oblivious to how their parents appear? You can't want something you don't know should be there.

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(Oops, hit the wrong Reply.... (Below threshold)

January 7, 2012 7:23 AM | Posted, in reply to SusanC's comment, by Iris: | Reply

(Oops, hit the wrong Reply...)

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I can't believe this didn't... (Below threshold)

January 7, 2012 11:51 AM | Posted by You Missed An Important Detail: | Reply

I can't believe this didn't get any attention. Look at that picture of her war wound. It's on the side of her hip, but instead of taking a picture of the side of her hip, for some reason she chose instead to post a picture of her entire lower body, naked, with a peek at her inner thighs and buttocks and maybe just a teeny hint of pussy. Hmm, why?

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He definitly discusses that... (Below threshold)

January 7, 2012 4:37 PM | Posted, in reply to You Missed An Important Detail's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

He definitly discusses that you illiterate trisomy troglodyte.

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I have BPD and Aspergers an... (Below threshold)

January 8, 2012 11:32 AM | Posted by RLW: | Reply

I have BPD and Aspergers and Penelope Trunk's descriptions are similar to my experiences. Just an FYI.

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Hopefully, when she becomes... (Below threshold)

January 8, 2012 11:48 AM | Posted by NDeewar: | Reply

Hopefully, when she becomes yesterday's news, she won't use more extreme methods to keep her hunger satiated.

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Knowledge is power .s... (Below threshold)

January 9, 2012 3:18 AM | Posted by nike free run: | Reply

Knowledge is power .s

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I had a buddy married to a ... (Below threshold)

January 9, 2012 10:40 PM | Posted by ElamBend: | Reply

I had a buddy married to a bd. It was insane. His father in law had to come over several times a week. When they split, she only lasted just over a year at her parents before they kicker her out. My buddy comes off as a volatile guy and she liked to provoke him. Fortunately it was only yelling. It's taken him a while to recover.

Trunk has always struck me as bat shit crazy. It actually helped me understand her behavior, though not her popularity. She reminds me of the kind of girls you see out (or used to) that just exuded some kind of sex, but set off the 'spidy sense': her be dragons. I think some guys don't have the spidy sense and other (like the beaters) ignore it [but crucially, they have it].


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"The reason BPDs burn out i... (Below threshold)

January 9, 2012 11:26 PM | Posted by jhan6120: | Reply

"The reason BPDs burn out in their 40s is because females in general become invisible after 40 years old."

Etc, etc . . . what a bunch of feminista crap.

First off, I don't believe that BPD's burn out in their 40's. The crazy just isn't as obvious anymore because their social interactions decrease. Hence, they get to be crazy all by themselves. But come on, really . . . I know plenty of incredible women over the age of 40. Why are they incredible? First off, THEY'RE NOT CRAZY. They're strong women with great personalities, not whinny, pseudo-marxist feministas or women burnt out from years of untreated mental illness.

IMO: by the time an untreated borderline woman reaches the age of 40, she's so emotionally and physically worn out from untreated BPD and the things that go with it - sexual promiscuity, emotional lability, broken relationships (lovers, friends, family, work), you can actually SEE IT ON HER FACE. I knew a woman in college who was absolutely stunning. I got to know her again over the past year, and she clearly has BPD. And you know what? She looks like she's 42 going on 70. It's the wear-and-tear. The addiction to drama, sex, highs and lows . . . what a shame.

I really don't believe untreated borderlines get better. Not cutting yourself with an exacto knife isn't criteria for 'getting better.' With this woman and a few others I've known, the broken relationships continue and the emotional lability continues. Even worse; once a BPD woman reaches an age where her sexual options decrease (as they do for most of us), she no longer has as many opportunities to use sex to latch into people and to medicate her emotional instability. That's when the real crazy can really kick in.

It's not that the illness abates or goes away; it's just that there aren't as many people around to see it. By the time she reaches 40, most of the important people in a BPD's life have fled. And because she can no longer rely on physical attractivenes to form attachments, there are are less and less people around. That's my opinion. From what I've seen, that's why untreated (and many treated) BPD women wind up being loners when they reach their 40's.

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I do have to say that peopl... (Below threshold)

January 10, 2012 1:49 AM | Posted by DensityDuck: | Reply

I do have to say that people like Penelope Trunk and Mike Krahulik are great, because they let us see what it's like to be an actual functional crazy person.

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it's always the other guy t... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 9:13 PM | Posted, in reply to DensityDuck's comment, by aliz: | Reply

it's always the other guy that's crazy. never you. right?

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jhan6120-- Your opinion bas... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2012 2:45 PM | Posted by RLW: | Reply

jhan6120-- Your opinion based on anecdotal evidence is not supported by facts. The treatment of older women is a frequent subject of research, google it sometim.

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Thank you for saying exactl... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2012 2:50 PM | Posted by standswithagist: | Reply

Thank you for saying exactly what BPD feels like.

So, it comes down to stopping being an [adrenaline/drama/CNS] junkie, right? Please say that's what to do because I truly am tired. No, I know that's what I have to choose. I've been in BPD "recovery" for 5 years and have not gone cold turkey, but that's what my ex-alcoholic friend means when he says I'm on a bender (of men, bad for me). I'm just a junkie and at 40, well, time to get clean. Because yes, I was young and yes I was pretty and yes my Dad was distant. But damn is this tiring and it's not working anymore.

Thank you, always.

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standswithagist::I... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2012 6:51 PM | Posted by jhan6120: | Reply

standswithagist::

It really sounds like you're at the breakng point. That's good. That's where change happens. What kind of therapy are you in? If it's some form of behavioral therapy, that's good (DBT, etc). If it's just traditional talk therapy, not so good, because that often makes BPD worse. Most BPD's can and usually do run circles around traditional talk therapists. BPD's are HUGE con-artists when it comes to talk-therapists untrained in dealing with BPD. The result is that the BPD's maladaptive behaviors become more and more entrenched as they skip from therapist to therapist or abandon therapy altogether.

It's not so much being an adrenaline or a drama junkie. You have extreme EMOTIONAL LABILITY. Your emotions are up, down, sideways, left and right, and you have no control over them. And the problem here is that with BPD, emotions = REALITY. Whatever a BPD is feeling right at that moment is REALITY. That's a dangerous thing, because although feelings are real, they don't always equal FACTS. This partly explains why even though a BPD might have had a good relationship with a friend over the past five years, one bad incident, and BAMB, that friend is a JERK. Reality says that people are a compendium of things and their qualities are varied. Everyone is a mix of pro's and con's. BPD CANNOT recognize the pro's and con's and weigh the complexities because it cannot deal with the anxiety of UNCERTAINTY. Uncertainty = ABANDONMENT, and when the BPD 'splits' the friend, she/he is, in a very real sense, cushioning him or herself against abandonment in a kind of pre-emptive strike. It's something that a 3 year old would do - like a primitive defense mechanism.

The 'men' thing is a two-pronged issue. It's about ABANDONMENT and medicating your emotional lability. These are both very complex issues that need to be addressed with a professional who is not afraid to tell you the truth. You go on men binges to escape the terrifying feeling of being alone (abandonment), and when you get a man, you medicate your emotional lability with sex. Sex produces two of nature's strongest natural pain-killers: endorphins and oxytocin. It's just like a junkie putting a needle in their arm. When you use sex to self-medicate, that's what you're doing.

And then of course your 'I hate you/don't leave me' dynamics come into play. Or, if you DO happen to want the other person to stick around, your emotional lability and lack of impulse control drives them away. This can go on for the rest of your life . . . if you let it.

Or, you can get honest with yourself. It's going to take a lot of courage and work. You're talking about a belief system and related maladaptive behaviors that have become entrenched over YEARS AND YEARS of practice. It is a Herculean effort to change those beliefs and behaviors. But it's worth it. Who knows, you might even be happy one day. Because you've never really been happy . . . have you?

Well done with your honesty in your post. That's a huge step. Follow it up with ACTION.

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RLW:Nearly everyth... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2012 6:59 PM | Posted by jhan6120: | Reply

RLW:

Nearly everything about psychology is anecdotal. That's why, when you catch a shrink in a cadid moment, they might just say that a person is 'Bat-shit crazy.' Why? Because the person actually IS BAT-SHIT CRAZY. There might be no empirical way to prove it at that moment, but that doesn't erase the wake of destruction a bat-shit crazy person causes.

Go ahead and ask someone raised by a BPD mother if their experience was merely 'anecdotal.' Then go buy a dictionary and look up what anecdotal actually means before you use it in a sentence.

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Yes. Euthanize cluster Bs. ... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 6:18 AM | Posted, in reply to mental health worker's comment, by Exceptions: | Reply

Yes. Euthanize cluster Bs. That's the ticket.

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"Yes. Euthanize cluster Bs.... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 7:41 AM | Posted by jhan6120: | Reply

"Yes. Euthanize cluster Bs. That's the ticket."

What a moronic response.

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jhan6120: There is a differ... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 9:50 AM | Posted by RLW: | Reply

jhan6120: There is a difference between vigorous scientific study of a sample of individuals & one guy's experience with some chicks he's met.

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RLW:1) So what hel... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 10:04 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

RLW:

1) So what help do you have to offer the people with BPD who've come to this discussion? Bust out with some of that empirical evidence and make a difference. 2) My experience has been corroborate over and over again in discussions with other people who've known and/or been involved with BPD's. And it doesn't mean any less just because you use the word 'guys' and 'chicks,'

Go ask any psychologist how much 'scientific studies' really means to them in everyday practice. Go ahead. Ask the guy who writes this blog. See what answer you get.

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I believe the guys who went... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 6:57 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I believe the guys who went to her blog to diagnose her missed completely the point.

"If you're watching, it's for you"

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Exceptions says "Yes. Eutha... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 10:11 PM | Posted, in reply to Exceptions's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Exceptions says "Yes. Euthanize cluster Bs. That's the ticket."

Oh the irony. I wonder if this sociopath (recommended we KILL people with certain personality disorders) realizes that Antisocial PD falls under Cluster B.

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I have a personal experienc... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2012 11:49 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I have a personal experience with someone similar to PTrunk. The husband, a medical doctor, beat her badly even while she was heavily pregnant. Like, head bashed on the floor, punched stomach, in front of their young children, and a trophy is a massive scar where her wedding ring used to be. She asked me to listen to her concerns and I didn't realize how crazy she was then because I offered my candid opinions. She shared them with him among other private things I thought I was sharing with a close friend. I stopped hanging out with her after that. Her husband suspended his practice for a short time because he was placed on psychiatric hold after beating a nurse. His parents are high profile so it was  either a strait jacket or jail. During this time, he offers to divorce her several times in writing through a lawyer and through her in-laws and she said no way. Money is not a problem. So I couldn't understand why she would stay after recounting every episode.stoa posed her because I felt crazy listening to this. Two weeks ago she declared in front of a gathering of five people that she told him he could have affairs if he wanted to. She groveled on the floor in front of him and bowed several times when he told her to shut up and out of the blue told the others that I was "incoherent". Passive aggressive much? I realized then that she got what she really wanted and in a way she must have enjoyed it. 

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Thank you for taking the ti... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2012 12:44 PM | Posted, in reply to jhan6120's comment, by standswithagist: | Reply

Thank you for taking the time to reply to me! I appreciate your response.

I'm well-versed in recovery methods, had my "breaking point" 5 years ago and have been doing what I could to get better (i.e., ACTION) and HAVE actually gotten better (you're right, pwBPD cannot get better w/o massive treatment). Unfortunately DBT isn't available in my area, so I use what I can, including exercise, good nutrition, medication, positive support networks, CBT therapy, etc. Talk therapy itself actually has been highly beneficial, as has hard, soul-searching work on a pro-recovery BPD forum, involvement on a site for family-members of pwBPD, and tons of daily cognitive/emotional work. I didn't just start my recovery, in other words. But like you said, this is something I took a lifetime to develop and 5 years is a short time, so I'm not where I'd like to be, especially in terms of romantic relationships, which are probably my biggest issue left.

I would only ask that you please be careful about generalizing pwBPD. Since I fit the in-acting (or "quiet BPD") subtype I am far from the "con-artist" stereotype and have suffered more from incompetent therapists than from any lack of true desire to (and behavior towards) change. I also don't any longer have the B&W thinking paradigm so common in the disorder and fit only one of the 9 DSM-V criteria.

I know you were simply trying to be helpful, and I'm sorry if I am coming across defensive. It's been difficult when both laypeople and professionals alike tend to assume things about me that just are not true, and then treat me a certain way because of their misunderstanding. I - and many of my other recovering friends with BPD - are very self-aware and committed to change, and sometimes suffer when we are lumped in with the narcissistic, destructive stereotype of someone like Alex from "Fatal Attraction." I personally love bunnies :)

Having said that, I appreciate your take on the "men/sex-as-self-medicating" issue, and will take a look at that in therapy, as well as take action to stop repeating my past mistakes. Thanks again.


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standswithagist:Ch... (Below threshold)

January 16, 2012 6:20 PM | Posted by jhan6120: | Reply

standswithagist:

Cheers for the reply. It’s nice to have a meaningful dialogue about this. I’m not a BPD sufferer, but I was in a relationship with an undiagnosed PWBPD. It was the worst hell I ever experienced.

One thing we all have to consider is that a certain amount of generalization is necessary in order to discuss something like this. Although everyone is an individual, there are certain characteristics and symptoms that do present themselves across the spectrum. Most people – and PWBPD in particular – very sensitive to being generalized. Nonetheless, we do need a point of reference. The world is simply too big to take in each person’s nuances. However, I can understand the anger one might experience in being generalized. We simply have to use our judgment about these things.

I suppose – if one were to categorize - that you would be considered a ‘Waif’ Borderline. Although it’s important not to draw too strict a boundary around these things, that’s the impression I get. My experience was quite the opposite. My ex was a Napalm type Borderline – full-blown for the world to see. Watching her in conversation was like watching a crop-duster spray poison on people. Her social anxiety/lack of impulse control was such that she could make an enemy out of a person she had just met only minutes before. To tell the truth, one of the reasons I dumped her was because I couldn’t take the social anxiety. She’s a beautiful woman, so her looks have no doubt helped her get by. But she’s in her early 40’s now, and the looks aren’t working nearly as much. That’s just the way nature is. Our culture admires youth and beauty and gives it a ‘pass’ when it misbehaves. When the youth and beauty diminishes, so does the ‘pass.’ Add to this – the longer the PWBPD gets away with maladaptive behavior, the more entrenched it becomes. I would literally stand in amazement that my ex could not have a polite, two-minute conversation without turning things into a war-zone. Who the hell wants to deal with THAT? It was only as matter of time before I shouted NEXT and ditched her.

I’m not being mean about this; I’m just being honest. Sometimes honesty isn’t nice. But the truth is the truth. When this woman started to pull her behavior with my family and eventually pushed me into an ‘It’s me or them’ corner, I CHOSE MY FAMILY. I had already been covering for her and rationalizing her behavior for months. I got tired of the lying and self-deception. And to top it off, the more I lied and rationalized, THE WORSE HER BEHAVIOR GOT. It was as if she was consciously pushing to see where my limit was. (Classic ‘I hate you/don’t leave me’ behavior.) Well, she found it, and it ended in a warzone. Most of the time, relationships with PWBPD end that way. There really is no ‘let bygones be bygones’ or closure with BPD’s. Either they dump you like you never existed, or they cling and constantly try to re-engage despite your requests to be left alone. (The latter was my case with my ex. I’ve since blocked all of her phone #’s and email addresses, and throw any mail she sends me in the sewer.)
Another interesting thing with my ex was her DENIAL. After I had experienced her behavior for a few months, I started to look things up. Something was rotten in Denmark; my gut was telling me that I was witnessing behaviors that went FAR deeper than normal ‘issues.’ Nearly ALL of her personal relationships (work, friends, family, love) were a disaster. She constantly put me on an false pedestal. She would claim to love someone one day, then curse them out the next. She CLEARLY used sex to self-medicate and was way too hypersexual for normal behavior. (A primary characteristic of BPD.) She had no impulse control whatsoever. She would swing from brazen social behavior to crippling social anxiety within minutes. Her whole life seemed to be one big CHAOS factory.

When I brought up the possibility of BPD with her, she told me that she had been diagnosed with BPD as a teenager (gee thanks for telling me that in the beginning!) and that she considered it to be a ‘garbage-can’ diagnosis. She said that she didn’t cut herself or self-harm, so she COULDN’T be BPD. Then she emotionally dysregulated and said something along the lines of people always trying to force her to be ‘someone else,’ so I dropped it. At that point, my clock was ticking and my bullshit detector was on high alert. I was already looking for a getaway car.

THANK GOD you are not in denial about your condition. You really DO have a chance at a normal, happy life! Imagine being so deluded that you could have five glaring symptoms of BPD, but because you don’t cut yourself, you’re ‘OK.’ Imagine actually believing that the problem is OTHER PEOPLE wanting you to be ‘someone else.’ What INSANITY!! That’s why I left. This woman is 42 years old!! If she’s living in that kind of denial and delusion NOW, what chance is there? Will she be ‘better’ by 50? 55? 60? Will she EVER be better? Sorry, life is too short for me to stick around and find out.

One thing I respect is the rigorous, often BRUTAL self-honesty that is required to recover from BPD. Healing from our personal problems always involves hearing things we don’t want to hear. Magnify that 1000 times for a PWBPD and add in the trauma recovery that’s necessary – since almost all BPD’s suffered some kind of devastating trauma as kids. Finally, there’s the behavior modification required. That’s a TALL ORDER. Only the courageous and – dare I say – RIGHTEOUS – are able to travel down that road.
I myself had a lot of self-examination to do to find out why I would want to be with a woman who had so many problems in the FIRST PLACE. It turns out that the codependency issues I thought I had dealt with years before were STILL THERE. Well . . . I dealt with them, and now they’re GONE. Crushed out of me like last year’s grapes. And I’m thankful. In a way, my BPD relationship was exactly what I needed to grow up. It’s just too bad that I could never tell this to my ex; she would take is a cue to re-engage and be on me like white on rice. Or, if she had another man, she would say ‘whatever’ and treat me like I never existed. I had to gain my own closure on this. So I did.

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I've only read a couple of ... (Below threshold)

January 19, 2012 1:37 AM | Posted by Pa: | Reply

I've only read a couple of her posts, but came away with feeling that there was something not quite right with her. This BPD explanation seems to fit for her.

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"Not quite right"? I came a... (Below threshold)

January 20, 2012 5:15 PM | Posted by ML: | Reply

"Not quite right"? I came away from a war zone in the east with less unease. This stuff is pure madness, and madder still that it's deemed worthy of serious commentary.

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I see many popular bloggers... (Below threshold)

January 20, 2012 7:11 PM | Posted, in reply to ML's comment, by Pa: | Reply

I see many popular bloggers who say bizarre things, even insane things, yet their lapdog followers keep pouring on the praise. It's scary, because if enough people decide that crazy is sane, then sane becomes the new crazy. I think the internet has collectively lost its mind.

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She does actually admit all... (Below threshold)

January 21, 2012 10:57 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Roach: | Reply

She does actually admit all kinds of bad behavior on her blog even in that post. For example that she busted a lamp on her head and refused to clean it up and this started a big fight with her husband. Or that she tried to stick a knife in her head after her babies.

I don't see anything Aspbergerish about her, but perhaps she is. I see a classic Borderline: Exciting, emotional, prone to extremes, occasionally paranoid, excessive in all areas of life, etc.

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What puzzles me is how some... (Below threshold)

January 25, 2012 9:32 PM | Posted by TheSwede: | Reply

What puzzles me is how some of her followers seem so blind at some of her ideas and posts. She hangs out a guy who gave her critique on Twitter, telling how she calls his work, home and publishes his personal information with people "cheering". There are many more examples in about every post. For a commoner like me, Germany in the 30/40's comes to mind; no matter how absurd anything she posts is, a majority are still there patting her on the back. What's the psychology behind this? Good post anyway, her blog was "scary find of the day" and I needed some (sane) insight.

Now I'll repress her.

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...you enjoy his fury? or i... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2012 5:59 PM | Posted, in reply to Carlier's comment, by MySoulisaRoad: | Reply

...you enjoy his fury? or in other words, you enjoy feeding off his intense emotions... this does sound a litte borderlineish..

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It's a relative handful of ... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2012 3:36 AM | Posted, in reply to TheSwede's comment, by WB: | Reply

It's a relative handful of hard-core groupies, but some of them clearly have issues rivaling Trunk's. She leaves her husband, they cheer. A couple days later when she goes back home to the guy who "beat her up", they support her well-reasoned and insightful decision. They accept without question the absurd lie that "her career advice runs in 200 newspapers" (try to find even one.) Whatever she spews is brilliant. It's really quite fascinating.

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This post seems to be very ... (Below threshold)

January 28, 2012 3:50 PM | Posted by emily: | Reply

This post seems to be very interested in naming something rather than understanding what exactly is happening inside someone with the reactions. So in the case of the baby, you see that the baby is buckled into the seat. She's literally stuck.

I'm curious about the way that learning to ignore the important of emotions as a kid is part of this story. It seems like people in stuck relationships spend a lot of time in their heads. They try to work out the details because the emotional part - the part that says that it's ok to leave - isn't able to come up in a healthy way.

But you're also saying here that the person who is the victim in the volatile relationship is in part responsible. But isn't the responsibility just that they can't walk away? Or that they also push people away because they can't walk away themselves?

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"I wonder what the liter... (Below threshold)

January 30, 2012 5:15 PM | Posted, in reply to Kevin Nasky's comment, by backtotesting: | Reply

"I wonder what the literature says (if anything) about burnt out borderlines. I imagine they remain psych patients but their diagnosis changes. I’ve had a few patients like this—they seem to morph into garden variety depressive neurotics."

I imagine them to morph more into something more along the lines of "The Real Housewives of $CITY" but maybe that's just me?

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Roissy just wrote a brillia... (Below threshold)

February 2, 2012 5:47 AM | Posted by Joe silva: | Reply

Roissy just wrote a brilliant post about this post:
http://heartiste.wordpress.com/

It is gold.
The woman is evil and a liar. You are seeing only her version of the story, Doc.
She is ten times more boring and nagging than she admits.

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One thing I find interestin... (Below threshold)

February 5, 2012 6:35 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

One thing I find interesting about Penelope is that she seems fairly aware of her issue on some level, one of her subsequent posts was this one:

http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2012/01/01/zero-tolerance-for-domestic-violence-is-wrong/

Where she herself admits that she isn't going to leave and enjoys some of what she gets from this relationship.

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Does not surprise me at all... (Below threshold)

February 12, 2012 8:35 AM | Posted by Xanthe Wyse: | Reply

Does not surprise me at all, her behaviour. It's unfortunate she holds herself up as the poster girl for Asperger's.

http://baileybear.hubpages.com/hub/Penelope-Trunk-Brazen-Careerist-or-Brazen-Narcissist

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Where's Part 2?... (Below threshold)

March 6, 2012 12:14 AM | Posted by Bernard SG: | Reply

Where's Part 2?

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A long time ago, with the a... (Below threshold)

March 6, 2012 1:22 PM | Posted by Constance: | Reply

A long time ago, with the arrogance and energy of youth, I volunteered as an "advocate" for female victims of domestic abuse. Although I wanted to be a feminist in the trenches, I quickly burned out. The women I was trying to "rescue" were in some undefinable way "impossible" to deal with. After reading TLP's comments on Penelope Trunk and BPD, I am beginning to understand why I got discouraged so fast.

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One of my best friends has ... (Below threshold)

March 6, 2012 3:39 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

One of my best friends has BPD. She's fun to be around, has a great sense of humor, is generous, has a successful social life and a fiancee. I love her to bits.
I noticed nobody wrote in to say anything nice about borderlines, so I thought I would.
And I took care of a borderline/oppositional defiant disorder woman in a mental hospital, she was fine too. She appeared not to 'get' me, perhaps because I treated her well and expressed my emotions honestly around her. (Not common, even though in many ways this institution was very nice).She spent a fair amount of time around me. I liked her.
If anyone is borderline out there and is discouraged by these people writing comments, I'd say, these just are not your people. TLP also wrote a post where he also said that the borderline diagnosis often means, to the doctor, that you're a 'difficult female patient.' If you are that, I for one will say, keep it up! The doctors should try to *earn* all that money. And some people *like* challenges (I do).

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"Learning from that phenome... (Below threshold)

March 6, 2012 7:35 PM | Posted, in reply to Kevin Nasky's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Learning from that phenomena, perhaps we should stop reinforcing the madness. Perhaps the real treatment for borderline is “learned helplessness.” Once the environment stops reinforcing all their drama, the behavior stops...."

Yes Kevin, we should put them in a cage, fenced into halves that the BPDs can jump over easily (we'll make the cage small so they're on their knees like dogs). When they jump to the other side to get to their food bowl, they will be electrocuted. After awhile, no need to go to all the trouble, because they won't ever try to go to the other side anymore. Learned helplessness. You are a genius!!!

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Yo jackass, autism is not '... (Below threshold)

March 6, 2012 9:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Yo jackass, autism is not 'social retardation", and stop saying 'retardation'. Also, although Asperger's is a form of autism, it is known to be different than other forms of autism, so using autism to sum up Penelope, and not Asperger's, is wrong.
One wrong thing among many wrong things in your post.
RE: the picture that was such an issue for some people.
She's a blogger, which means she tries to take pictures that are aesthetically pleasing or at least interesting, duh. This picture is that. Also, the way she shot it clearly shows the size of the wound in relation to her body in a way a more modest picture would not, and that also makes the picture interesting. If she'd taken a pic of the wound all by itself, you people would be writing in saying "It's just a small wound! BPD bitch, I bet she took a closeup of it just to get attention!" Underwear, even, would cover the wound or, if scrunched down to show the wound, distract from the viewing of it; she did it the best way possible. And to the guy who was talking about seeing a hint of pussy, you're wrong too.

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Here is the introduction of... (Below threshold)

March 7, 2012 6:45 PM | Posted by a healthcare provider who supports the mental health Recovery Movement : | Reply

Here is the introduction of a brief autobiography by a patient who was diagnosed with borderline personality, BPD:

"The following is the story of Renee Kopache, who in a ten year period was hospitalized 40 times, was on nearly 40 different medications, survived three suicide attempts and 23 ECT’s, and many experiences of self injury Today Renee is medication free, has a satisfying personal life, and works as Recovery Coordinator of the Hamilton County Community Mental Health Board in Cincinnati, Ohio (www.mhrecovery.com). She is quick to point out that recovery is a process of taking responsibility for creating a meaningful life, getting better, reconnecting with society; that recovery is about stretching beyond one’s comfort zone so growth can happen, and that every person defines his or her own recovery. Here is her story: Personal Chronicle: Progression from “Mentally Ill” to “Recovering” to “Recovered”……"

http://www.power2u.org/articles/recovery/recovery_stories/reneek_story.html

Imagine what she could have done with some *decent* healthcare providers.

So, Kevin et al crabby healthcare providers, here is a woman who became empowered rather than letting the worst parts of the system teach her ‘learned helplessness.’

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From 'Confessions of a Non... (Below threshold)

March 7, 2012 6:58 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

From 'Confessions of a Non-Compliant Patient'
by Judi Chamberlin

"A good patient is one who is compliant, who does what he or she is told, who doesn't make trouble, but who also doesn't ever really get better. A "good patient" is often someone who has given up hope and who has internalized the staff's very limited vision of his or her potential.

Now, again, I want to make myself clear. I'm not saying that mental health professionals are evil people who want to hold us all in the grip of permanent patienthood, and who don't want us to get well. What I'm saying is that there's something about being a "good patient" that is, unintentionally, perhaps, incompatible with recovery and empowerment. When many of us who have become leaders in the consumer/survivor movement compare notes, we find that one of the factors we usually have in common is that we were labeled "bad patients." We were "uncooperative," we were "non-compliant," we were "manipulative," we "lacked insight." Often, we were the ones who were told we would never get better. I know I was! But twenty-five years of activism in the consumer/survivor movement has been the key element in my own process of recovery.

Let's look at this word "compliance." My dictionary tells me it means "acquiescent," "submissive," "yielding." Emotionally healthy people are supposed to be strong and assertive. It's slaves and subjects who must be compliant. Yet compliance is often a high value in professionals' assessments of how well we are doing. Being a good patient becomes more important than getting well..."

http://power2u.org/articles/recovery/confessions.html

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www.kspope.com/suicide/... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2012 11:36 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

www.kspope.com/suicide/

Treating borderlines, etc:

"Be sensitive to negative reactions to the client's behavior.
Alan Stone, professor of psychiatry and law at Harvard, has been a pioneer in the acknowledgment of the ways in which some overly fatigued therapists may react with boredom, malice, or even hatred to some suicidal clients. James Chu (quoted by Colt, 1983, p. 56), a psychiatrist in charge of Codman House at McClean Hospital, comments: "When you deal with suicidal people day after day after day, you just get plain tired. You get to the point of feeling, 'All right, get it over with.' The potential for fatigue, boredom, and negative transference is so great that we must remain constantly alert for signs that we are beginning to experience them." Colt notes that "Maltsberger and Buie discuss therapists' repression of such feelings. A therapist may glance often at his watch, feel drowsy, or daydream-or rationalize referral, premature termination, or hospitalization just to be rid of the patient. (Many studies have detailed the unintentional abandonment of suicidal patients; in a 1967 review of 32 suicides . . . Bloom found 'each . . . was preceded by rejecting behavior by the therapist.') Sometimes, in frustration, a therapist will issue an ultimatum. Maltsberger recalls one who, treating a chronic wrist-cutter, just couldn't stand it, and finally she said, 'If you don't stop that I'll stop treatment.' The patient did it again. She stopped treatment and the patient killed herself" (1983, p. 57).

Perhaps most important, communicate caring.
Therapists differ in how they attempt to express this caring. A therapist (cited by Colt, 1983, p. 60) recounts an influential event early in her career: "I had a slasher my first year in the hospital. She kept cutting herself to ribbons—with glass, wire, anything she could get her hands on. Nobody could stop her. The nurses were getting very angry. . . . I didn't know what to do, but I was getting very upset. So I went to the director, and in my best Harvard Medical School manner began in a very intellectual way to describe the case. To my horror, I couldn't go on, and I began to weep. I couldn't stop. He said, 'I think if you showed the patient what you showed me, I think she'd know you cared.' So I did. I told her that I cared, and that it was distressing to me. She stopped. It was an important lesson." The home visits, the long and frequent sessions, the therapist's late-night search for a runaway client, and other special measures mentioned earlier are ways some therapists have found useful to communicate this caring, although such approaches obviously would not fit all therapists, all clients, or all theoretical orientations. One of the most fundamental aspects of this communication of caring is the therapist's willingness to listen, to take seriously what the client has to say. Farberow (1985, p. C9) puts it well: "If the person is really trying to communicate how unhappy he is, or his particular problems, then you can recognize that one of the most important things is to be able to hear his message. You'd want to say, 'Yes, I hear you. Yes, I recognize that this is a really tough situation. I'll be glad to listen. If I can't do anything, then we'll find someone who can.'"

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Poor Penelope Trunk has rea... (Below threshold)

March 15, 2012 5:15 PM | Posted by MotheroftheBean: | Reply

Poor Penelope Trunk has really lost it, and AMEX is taking full advantage of her:http://tinyurl.com/6nzdrm5

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Ummm... you do realize that... (Below threshold)

March 17, 2012 12:11 AM | Posted by Jane Dor: | Reply

Ummm... you do realize that what you are calling BPD has no overlap whatever with the definition all the other psychiatrists have for that, right?

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The people we are not heari... (Below threshold)

March 28, 2012 9:14 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The people we are not hearing from is the children, so saying what are her strengths, raising children, she must be doing something right, is premature. Going by pics on her blog of smiling tots is not enough. How do I know this? Because I was raised by someone like her, and if you flipping thru photo albums (what they used before blogs) you would see all of us well dressed, smiling for the camera. It was a sham however.

I mention this because the poster has not met Ms. Tree, and her assumptions are based on third-hand information put on the internet by Ms. Tree. This is not enough to judge that she is good at raising children. So I had to call her out on that one. I'll be praying for all the kids out there in situations like this.

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you are clearly a chauvanis... (Below threshold)

May 8, 2012 9:58 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by demelsa: | Reply

you are clearly a chauvanist, and your comments should not even be posted. in fact what you have said is clearly disgusting.

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Oh no, you're missing the p... (Below threshold)

May 30, 2012 7:45 AM | Posted, in reply to demelsa's comment, by Fast: | Reply

Oh no, you're missing the point. The comment isn't chauvinistic, she/he is just saying how things are. And 'things' are, sadly, chauvinistic.

See the difference?

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Ah, the good old confusion ... (Below threshold)

May 30, 2012 11:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Fast's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Ah, the good old confusion between normative and positive...

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Ah, the good old confusion ... (Below threshold)

June 19, 2012 4:19 AM | Posted by Agnes: | Reply

Ah, the good old confusion between normative and positive...

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Penelope Trunk is a sad per... (Below threshold)

July 12, 2012 12:32 AM | Posted by Ms. A.: | Reply

Penelope Trunk is a sad person. She is doing genuine damage to the Asperger's community with her self-diagnosed autism spectrum disorder. Since there are some not-so-bright HR people out there, I fear that some of them will take her blog at face value and decline to hire people with Asperger's, because according to her, the disorder causes you to scream at people, throw things, run companies into the ground, and post sexily lit photos of thighs and buttocks (with a glimpse of pussy lips, no less!) online with your name signed to it. That behavior poses a liability to any company, so who'd want to hire someone and risk losing money, clients, or a good reputation over an employee like Penelope.

Now, I work in the tech industry by day, and moonlight as a health and medical writer, and I can tell you with confidence that people with Asperger's are nothing like Ms. Trunk. They have difficulty reading social situations, and present with a flat affect, whereas she manipulates social situations to her advantage and presents with a high, unstable, and often negative affect. Nonetheless, thanks to her raising the profile of Asperger's in a career advice context, she is doing unavoidable damage to people who truly have it, and whose social miscues wouldn't prevent them from being high performers in a number of jobs.

That's why I find her disgusting. If she could just admit that she has BPD and leave the self-diagnosis out of it, I'd just ignore her – who cares about another blog full of crazy rants, since they're a dime a dozen on the internet? But she is a malicious grifter who's actively hurting innocent people. Thus, psychiatrists and Asperger's patients alike have a duty to confront her and chastise her behavior as wrong, simply because it's the right thing to do. This blog is a step in the right direction. We need more of them.

(Full disclosure: My nephew has autism spectrum disorder, my husband's good friend has moderate Asperger's, and many of my colleagues have Asperger's that presents to varying degrees.)

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the good old confusion betw... (Below threshold)

July 12, 2012 9:24 PM | Posted by Paige111: | Reply

the good old confusion between normative and positive...

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"If I really hated this lif... (Below threshold)

July 26, 2012 7:54 AM | Posted by Karl Gustav: | Reply

"If I really hated this life, I'd be changing it."

Penelope Trunk
http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2011/12/01/living-up-to-your-potential

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Everybody who TELLS you s/h... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2012 1:55 PM | Posted by Hantavirus: | Reply

Everybody who TELLS you s/he has Asperger's is merely an asshole.

When the Asperger's vogue appeared a couple-six years ago, suddenly people I knew were coming up to me and spontaneously "revealing" this terribly personal thing: "I have Asperger's," they'd say with finality, a weight off them. Whew! Then a while later you try to discuss it to any greater degree, and every single one of them, to a man, said, "Well, I haven't actually been diagnosed...."

It's a handy excuse for assholism, or let's say garden-variety NPD or BPD. "Disease sufferer" is a better identity than "causer of suffering," and supposedly the "bad at social interactions" piece explains all the volatility. Cargo-cult psychology.

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Next time someone says they... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2012 11:11 AM | Posted, in reply to Hantavirus's comment, by LaVernon: | Reply

Next time someone says they have Assburgers you go ahead and ask them: -"You want fries with that?"

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Thank you, to the Anonymous... (Below threshold)

July 26, 2013 6:41 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Thank you, to the Anonymous with the BFF who has BPD. I know better than to go looking for any type of support on the internet, at least if the term "BPD" is used. A brief search found a bunch of BPD haters. I understand that many of us leave people damaged in our wakes, but not all of us are monsters, and many of us are actually seeking help, though not many of us are getting it. I had to fight tooth and nail to get the first couple of decades of therapy I got, partially due to shrinks who've not been able to handle people with BPD, because they took what we said personally, and started putting us all in boxes. I can spot a BPD hater after just a few minutes in therapy. I've also encountered therapists who adore BPDs because they like to play our mind games with us. Oh, but they never win, because it's not THAT kind of game, and everyone ends up damaged. This blogger sounds like a cross between the two I just described, especially after having read some of his comments on his article that is specifically about BPD. On the one hand, he loves to talk about "splitting," while on the other hand, he says that we don't have an eternal sense of right and wrong. dot dot dot. And people think that we therapist hop because of our disorder. Protip to anyone who is dx'd with BPD or thinks s/he fits the dx: talk to a therapist about goals. Ask the therapist if they know of a plan that can help you get your emotions under some kind of control. Not just your behaviors, but your emotions. Listen closely. If the answers you get dance around the issue, you've got a game lover. If the answers you get try to define you or put you in a box, you've got a hater. What we need is open-ended, patient-driven -guidance-. Not judgement, not labels, not predictions about how we are going to behave, or even how we have behaved.

Very thankful for the experienced therapist I'm doing DBT with, my family, my long-term marriage to a very supportive and stable man, and my many, many friends (and exes! Imagine that!) I've managed to keep over the years, mostly because I've been honest with them, and with myself. It's not easy to be correctly insightful as someone with BPD, but some of us can, and do.

I am also amused by these BPD boxes I'm seeing in this thread of comments. That we're one kind of BPD or another. I've been all of them, depending on my situation in life, and I imagine that's not uncommon at all.

I was just talking to my husband about this post, and about how things go down like this on the internet and in life, and I said that it must be nice for some people to be in relationships with people who are dx'd with BPD. Then, nothing gets to be their fault. The BPD is always "playing" the victim, but never is. Our "reality" is invalid, so there is no compromise, there is just right and wrong, and our "splitting" is reversed against us because of our diagnosis. We can talk about this in this particular context now, because we have been there, and done all of that.

The place we haven't been, though, is in the place of the narcissist/bpd place, because he isn't a narcissist. He's just a kind, supportive man. And if you think it's hard being with another person who has a mental disorder, try being with one who's not! :) Better outcome, in the long run, but wow, it's not easy, not as someone with BPD. I have not, however, ever been in a relationship with a narcissist. Are you kidding me? I'm keeping the little amount of control over myself that I have, as hard as that is in ANY relationship.

I will say that some of the comments here triggered me, and I so wanted to jump off the wagon and blast a few folks, but I breathed instead. Here's the thing: we're human. We breathe just like you do. Go ahead and enjoy the show while it lasts, but those of us who (usually accidentally) get help will start to disappoint you eventually, and you will have to move on to another mentally ill person to get your kicks from.

I hope Ms. Trunk joins us and starts boring you all soon. Penelope, if you are reading this: You are enough. Start there. With your audience, you could really help fight the stigma attached to this disease, and maybe help other people get the help they need, unlike this blogger. You CAN focus on yourself and get help. In fact, it's the only way to do it.

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Well, crap, for 15 years, I... (Below threshold)

November 11, 2013 8:33 PM | Posted, in reply to Daniel's comment, by BoKolis: | Reply

Well, crap, for 15 years, I've been ignorantly calling that narcissist/borderline relationship Batman & Robin. It's so much easier to explain it that way to the rest of the ignorant.

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This is one of the biggest ... (Below threshold)

July 12, 2014 5:32 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This is one of the biggest loads of BS I have ever read. Authored by a BPD, I'm sure.

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I have Aspergers. I sometim... (Below threshold)

July 22, 2014 4:51 PM | Posted by AspieCatholicgirl: | Reply

I have Aspergers. I sometimes read Penelope Trunk's blog. And while it's possible that she does have Aspergers in addition to whatever else she might have, Aspergers doesn't really explain her. Your post gives a more lucid picture of her psyche than do her own words about herself.

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That's what you think, liar... (Below threshold)

August 12, 2014 2:10 PM | Posted by Anon: | Reply

That's what you think, liar. If you ask me, Penelope (or Pen as I'd rather call her) gives pathetic advice. One example is that she told workers not to report harassment. What if she 's being harassed?

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You're a real suck-up, you ... (Below threshold)

August 28, 2014 11:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You're a real suck-up, you know that?

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????I sympathize w... (Below threshold)

August 29, 2014 3:02 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by johnnycoconut: | Reply

????

I sympathize with the struggles of the commenter you replied to. I do believe they misinterpreted the intention of TLP's article (if that's what your cryptic, offensive-seeming comment alluded to), though they may have picked up on some biases that TLP might have/try hard to hide. TLP's blunt hyperbole, which I normally enjoy or at least am willing to bear, may be an effort to cushion him from the psychological hazards of publishing posts where he lays so much on the table, but it may be interpreted in the wrong way--or worse (and I believe/hope not), interpreted correctly in a bad way. I'd love to hear elaboration from the commenter and a response from TLP--although I'm not expecting that to happen, it would be nice. There's a good conversation to be had there.

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