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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My undiagnosed bpd girlfriend has begun a relationship with

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My undiagnosed bpd girlfriend has begun a relationship with her neighbor after us having a fall out. She's txt'd me a couple of times with bits n bobs of info that doesn't matter too much or require a reply. She has split up with me before & returned later explaining that she fears I'll leave her & she can't deal with her feelings for me very well because they're too strong. I always thought that getting involved with neighbors was risky to say the least as the dynamics are testing to put it mildy.
Is a bpd female likely to struggle with seeing a neighbor? Is it likely to fail & have her reaching out to me before I've had time to get over this whole mess?

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

While I agree that having a relationship with a neighbor can cause difficulties because of the logistics of living situation, and your instincts are right that someone with BPD having a relationship will likely fail.

DoctorZ :

The reason for it to likely fail is because most likely they will spend more time together because of how close they live together, so the neighbor will see her mood swings more often and will see her fear of abandonment more readily. This can push this neighbor away from her, which will cause further abandonment issues.

DoctorZ :

It is possible that this relationship will end faster than a traditional relationship where both parties are not living so close together and this will lead her to contact you in the near future

Customer:

I have read up on bpd quite a bit & so I'm not taking this as personally as most would. I don't know if that's compassionate or dumb? While I have expressed my upset at what she's done I don't think she would be surprised at that, she's got bpd, she's high functioning & been around long enough to know anyone would be hurt by that. I've figured if I'm too accepting of it I'll look like some kind of chump & that aint gonna bode well for the future. So not sure how best to manage my reactions & behavior to it all. Am I best off staying no contact & waiting to see if she reaches out? And if she does, then what?

DoctorZ :

You are compassionate and that is an admirable quality. I think you definitely should not contact her at this point. If she reaches out to you and wants to start a relationship again, you can start a relationship, but I would encourage you to convince her and you to try couples counseling to have her BPD addressed by an objective therapist. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) has been very successful in treating individuals with BDP. If she does not get help and you resume a relationship with her, then the relationship will continue down the same path as it did before and will most likely fail.

Customer:

Yeah I'd been thinking about couples therapy. She knows I'm angry about it all (as anyone would expect) & she's kept a low profile since it all started four weeks ago. She did txt me this week with some news which I already knew about. I didn't reply as I went no contact when I found out about neighbor. But since that txt I've rethought things. She also said a few days before that, that I'll never hear from her again. She's been quite unpleasant since she took up with neighbor & I've not retaliated.

Customer:

Should I just keep a low profile & wait this out for their romance to self implode? I've thought about looking at treatment options & availability in the meantime. Then just sit back & wait for her new romance to burst.

DoctorZ :

That is good do not retaliate, that will just provoke her more. Many individuals with BPD will say things that involve "all or nothing thinking" and will make statements that she will never talk to you again, but will end up making contact with you because in reality she does not want to lose you. I would wait for the relationship to end as it most likely will, then she will most likely make contact with you at some point and then you can bring up treatment options

Customer:

I've read about triangulating? Is she likely to try to play me off against the neighbor? I want to be compassionate without being walked all over & used.

DoctorZ :

I understand your concern and most likely she is saying things about you to the neighbor to make you seem bad to get him to be closer to her, but that is probably the extent of it. I understand your need to be compassionate, but if she texts just be polite and brief, let her do most of the talking. Triangulation will not happen if you do not give her too much personal information to use or if you do not get too involved in her life

DoctorZ :

Wait for her relationship to end, and then she will come back to you most likely and weigh your options if you want to resume a relationship with her and if she would be willing to seek treatment to help the relationship succeed.

Customer:

That's very helpful, thank you. I read somewhere the other day that most relationships with neighbors & work colleagues fail in the first 90 days. I mentioned this to my brother who said I should be ready much sooner than that due to her condition? Would that make sense to you? She's very much into self help books & has mentioned before that she know's there's something not right with her but doesn't know what. That's the reason I think she'd agree to therapy & I'd like us to go get couples therapy anyway. So I've basically got to engage with her without giving too much away, don't be soft but don't be cruel, and just leave well alone & wait it all out?? You've been more helpful & reassuring than I expected.

DoctorZ :

I definitely agree with your brother that the relationship will most likely end sooner than the 90 day average that you mentioned. If she makes contact with you, then you can engage her and be there as a compassionate friend, but try not to get involved with their relationship too much. Waiting it out is a good approach and since she has a fear of abandonment, she will most likely make contact with you on more than one occasion.

DoctorZ :

Also since she likes self-help books, this may be a good book for you and her to read in the future.

Customer:

I wasn;t planning to get involved with their relationship in any way. I was just going to reply politely as you mentioned, but don't be too friendly & let her do the leg work but don't make her dance like bear. I don't think I'd be happy to discuss anything with her while they're still involved. I was just going to stay civil if I hear from her & not fuss about anything. I guessed she'd work out for herself that I'm approachable without making myself look like I'm chasing her. I kind of feel like I've got a balancing act to get through. I've got to appear like I'm ok & not look needy, but also look available for being approached about a repair? I guess being civil & nothing any more enthusiastic than that might be best route? Oh, and as you say, staying out of the way of her new relationship.

DoctorZ :

I meant do not get involved in the relationship, like if she asks you for advice about her relationship, that is what I meant. It is definitely like a balancing act, but I think it is your best approach to help shield you from unnecessary hurt and drama, but also the best chance for her to approach you again. I think you have a good handle of what to do by being civil and kind, but not looking too needy or enthusiastic when she contacts you.

Customer:

Thank you. I figured chasing her would chase her away & be counter productive. I'll leave alone & just get on with my stuff & tick along. A few have said she won't want to lose me so if I'm not chasing she'll come round sooner? Is it true that with bpd sufferes out of sight really is out of mind? I figured they have their feelings triggered by songs, places etc just like us? I don't like the forums that just slag bpd off as evil machines, I think it's narrow minded.

DoctorZ :

I cannot say with 100 percent certainty that she will come back, but it is likely that she will not want to lose you. And no out of sight and out of mind does not always factor in for individuals with BPD. Most individuals with BPD have what I call "tunnel vision" and focus on what is front of them, but acknowledge that there are other people in the world, this is why she still will maintain contact with you. Once this relationship ends her tunnel vision focus may be geared towards you. I agree that BPD individuals are not evil they just struggle with a very complex disorder that makes them emotionally unstable and this is confusing and frustrating to them.

Customer:

Thank you you've been very helpful. I will sit back & wait it out. I'll leave you a great rating & I've found your advice very comforting. Thanks again.

DoctorZ :

Anytime, I always happy to help

DoctorZ :

I wish you the best of luck with everything. If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at anytime.

Customer:

Thank you. can I specifically contact you through this service? I thought it would just link me with anyone next time?

DoctorZ :

You can ask for me again by putting "For DoctorZ" before you pose your question or you can use my homepage to ask a question.

DoctorZ :

This will make sure that you want to speak to me

Customer:

Great thanks. have a good weekend

DoctorZ :

You have a great rest of your weekend as well

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