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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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Hello, I dont want to go over this any more than I already

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Hello, I dont want to go over this any more than I already have, but I suppose its my money and I want some answers. When I speak with a certain ex girl friend, as I did on the phone last night, I sometimes come to a point of feeling suddenly insane. She turns from really sweet and caring for several minutes and then her tone can suddenly switch in one word, like, 'What?', etc., etc., over a ridiculous fear of betrayal from something that I said. However, its just the very tone of it, and how it disturbs me. I dont understand ( and increasingly dont care ) but it actually makes me feel insane. Its like I go catatonic for a couple of seconds as my mind and body drys into concrete about to crack. The last couple of times I just drop the phone and go for a walk. Last night I hung up without saying anyting and disconnected the cord. Unfortunately though, I still have a very soft spot for her. Ironic that it turns me into concrete like that. So, is this something that is serious or not? Im wondering if its just her little darts on my own smouldering anger problem and I should salvage the relationship to help me with that, or whether I am more normal than I think and that I can trust my jolts of insanity as a serious sign to stay away. I know the answer seems easy, but we have really good times when we are together, but these jolts I'm talking about happen then too. Actually head butting a wall at one stage while she went outside for a cigarette. However, I'm pretty tolerant and thinking of calling her back and maybe flying over to be with her. Can these little pangs get a whole lot worse?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

I wonder if this situation isn't a matter of you, having an ex-girlfriend who has some symptoms of a personality disorder, while you have some anger and emotion regulation difficulties?

What I'd like you to do is read through the following diagnostic criteria and tell me how many, if any of these characteristics fit this woman who is driving you 'crazy'. There are about 10 formal personality disorders and innumerable 'variants' of these e.g., partial disorders and mixed types. But here is one I'd like to start with:

Tell me what you think.......
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
ok give me moment. I hope this helps me understand those pangs of pain..back in a sec.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Good deal. Talk to you a bit later.............
Dr. Michael and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I have seen that site before and read a lot about Borderline although it looks like you really do need a trained professional to diagnose it. It is quite complicated. I think I have a lot of those traits myself especially as I have been diagnosed Bipolar II. It dont like accepting it but I'm on treatment and that makes life a lot more regular. With the things I have presented to people on this site and other Psych professionals the answers always indicates Bordeline. My view is that she doesnt have the chronic emptiness and the outbursts of anger that seems to characterise it. She does seem to idealize me a little but I'm not sure about being devalued. I believe I do know a Bordeline lady or two and its the anger/rage behaviour that seems to detemine them as that. I have had revolting and painful abuse on emails but I got hard on her about that and I havent had them again. So that was devaluing. She reckons its just her Italian nature. I suppose the, 'how could you be so cruel' routine is inevitable. Anna from this site said that psychologists know when they are talking to BPD because they make you feel insane. I think if I just be with her some more she would be settled down and be good company. but I keep running away because I simply feel insane. I cant overcome my need to reason with her, and to help her, because can be really nice. I dont think there is any help possible about this. Its all up to me. All I know is I've been going around this mountain looking for help. I dont feel I can get out because I dont think I've got it in me to be cruel to her. I'm not sure Ive got the question right. The science of it isnt helping. So heres the question. Is it love when someone suddenly turns around from sweet talk to angry questioning in 0.05 seconds, or is it emotional blackmail that most people dont do. I have never treated anyone I love like that. I'll leave it with you.

Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
I'm going to tackle your question in the morning, as I have to attend a short New Years' midnight gathering for a time. Also, I want to re-read your post a couple more times.

Please stay tuned.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Have a great night! I had mine last night! cheers
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
The best answer to your last question can be found if you do what is called a 'functional analysis' of her behavior. That is, if we assume that no behavior (or almost none) occurs by 'accident', then there is a 'reason' for the behavior. If you can buy into the idea that every behavior serves a purpose for a person, then you are on the right track in terms of understanding it. Now, when we ask what purpose a behavior serves, the simplest way to examining this is to ask, "What outcome does the behavior produce?" "What payoffs does the person receive from reacting the way they do?" How does this behavior change the situation, the nature of the conversation." So again, the premise is that atypical behaviors such as this, especially if they occur often, provide a payoff, help a person cope with a situation, change their 'circumstance' in the moment, etc.

What I'd like you to do is reflect upon 3-4 instances in which your ex-girlfriend has acted in a way that drives you nuts, and play the movie forward inside of your head and begin to ask, 'why did she do this---what was the outcome of it, what changed in the situation at that exact moment, what payoff might she of achieved in acting that way, etc.?

I will await your response.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I did a page on the answer before but it doesnt look like it was posted because I hadnt clicked 'accept' yet. I thought about four occasions. All of them when I'm forced into a place where I cant run away, like in the car or at dinner. I basically found that each and every occasion tends to break down my reasons and beliefs so that I no longer believe what I think or feel. At first, I thought this was all about her unconscious ( or not ) scheme to break me down and control me. But I've had another think about it and there is another side to this story. A cult. I got out of a six month episode in a pseudo cult two years ago and been floundering ever since. I've been making a tragic mistake of keeping in touch with the 'leader' who has heard about my issues with the girl and wants me to go no contact and join his contacts in a remote Australian town and do 'good works' of faith and good will. No wonder my head is exploding. Caught between sexual urges and the company of a woman, trying to figure out why she makes me feel insane and the cautiion of a cult! I'm pretty cool about going no contact with the cult. Nothing to gain from that, and no need from them. So, the girl. I think the pangs of insanity I was feeling was my inner self crying our for reason against her ways. I wish I could be more exacting about that, but the realisation of my ties to the cult are mitigating against all that. Things would be easier toward her if I put all the cult ties behind me. And so I shall, right now. Yet, she's expecting me over tomorrow, and I have to buy a little more time, dont you think?   The thing I forgot to say is how much I realised I felt confused by her  behaviour and that had the effect of excessive self doubt and indecision, so that I would be lead by feelings and not my real self.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
I think I understand the point you make when you draw into this discussion your involvement with the cult. The pseudo-cult no doubt, made you wonder whether they were trying to 'break me down' and 'control me', which is probably one of the reasons you pulled away from your involvement with them. You are making the same attribution to your girlfriend i.e., "I feel I can run away....every occasion tends to break down my reasons and beliefs.......I thought this was all about her unconscious scheme to break me down and control me". So the inferences you make about her motives, when she says things that drive you 'insane', would seem to be based on the same fears you had about the cult, when you were involved heavily in that. It may be that if you can put the cult ties completely behind you, it may make it easier for you to objectively look at your girlfriend's behavior. This is my interpretation of what you last posted----your involvement with the cult has coloured your thinking about your girlfirend's behavior and motives. Is this correct?

You may want to 'buy more time' before you see this woman; but when you do prepare to see her, you will want to focus on
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
My involvement with the cult. Thats a long story, but one that needs to be behind me. Did it colour my thinking toward the girl? Yes, but more because I believed it was a relationship that wasnt in God's will and only second best to someone in the psuedo cult. They reinforce that idea but I lucked out with every girl in that group. If I go back to this girl, 'You will want to focus on...?'
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Sorry I didn't get my thought to print out on the post. If you go back to this girl, you will want to step back and evaluate what the payoff is for her to say frustrating/exasperating things in the moment. You did a good job of describing its outcome or effect on you. But in a functional analysis, we need to infer what the person's expectancies or intentions are or if these can't be deduced, what the positive reinforcement value of her behavior is for her. You can probably reflect on her past behavior and come up with some patterns, and then a hypothesis about these patterns.
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