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Tell someone they exhibit symptoms of HPD?

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Tell someone they exhibit symptoms of HPD?

Postby Principled Man » Thu May 27, 2010 1:14 pm

Hi, I've read through the other threads but want advice on my particular situation. I am a long-term (10+ years) recovering alcoholic (dependent), so I have first hand experience contending with my own PD. I recently got involved with a person exhibiting symptoms of HPD. This person has a history of severe mental illness in their family which she discusses. She knows I am in recovery. In this brief relationship, I was the "other guy", however she was priming me to be next in line. As this is not my first experience with this type of behavior I got out very quickly, told her it wasn't fair to her boyfriend, and that I found such behavior unacceptable and that I am done. I have gone 30 days no contact, but for you purist I do read her emails, which is why I can say that over the course of these 30 days her contacting me by email (complete with apologies for knowing I don't want her to contact me) is escalating out of control. It's the usual, I love you, my behavior didn't match my words, please give us a chance, blah, blah, blah. I am not angry or resentful and I know I want nothing to do with her - I am not so attached. My recovery is more important to me than anything and I have had enough bad experience to know I cannot fix her and that I have more work to do on me so I'm not so attracted to toxic people but I do still have the "nice guy" impulse and I was thinking of sending the following email. Please share your thoughts and opinions with me as to the genuine helpfulness of this to her and the risk to myself.

Dear XXX,

Your disrespect of my wishes for no contact is not very attractive and has the opposite affect of what you intend. However,I do care about you enough to be inconsistent and respond, though it is only to take a risk and tell you some difficult things, as I see them. Right or wrong, please know that I am coming from a place of care and respect for you.

I think you exhibit symptoms of a Cluster B personality disorder, probably Histrionic. If this seems ridiculous to you chalk it up to projection. I have my own disordered personality to deal with. I tell you this because I am assuming that, like me, you are person who desires deep, lasting, intimacy with another person but has a hard time experiencing it. Also like me, you may need help in achieving it. There is no shame in this. Many people, me included, have been wounded in childhood (abandoned, abused, shamed, and neglected - to name my own list of grievances), but it is possible to take responsibility for your recovery and not let this continue to define your adult relationships.

If you'd rather not look at this, or think I'm a total nut job just delete the email. I won't bother you again.

I will take another risk and say that if you want to talk about it, I am willing. But only if YOU want to talk about it. I will not attempt to further diagnose you or justify my observation. Again, if you think it's ridiculous then it is. If we do talk and I percieve any hostility, aggression, or cajoling to continue a relationship, I will hang up and cut off all contact. I tell you now that there will be no relationship of any kind for us any time in the near or not so near future. I will not change my mind. If we do talk it WILL be the last contact we have for an extended period of time to last no less than three months. I need this time to get over you because that is how much I care, not how much I dislike or wish to punish you. I also know I will never be the man you need me to be because no man can.

Know that I am telling you this because I love you and I will tell you the truth as I see it even if it means you despise me for doing so. If you want to video chat on the basis of the above conditions, fine. If not and you respond to this email, fine; but I will not write back. One phone call or response to this email, then no contact begins and I insist that you respect my wishes. I will do whatever I have to do to enforce that.

If I have any advice to give it would be not to close your mind to the idea that there may be a God who can fill the emptiness inside you.

I will for you to experience the greatest love, peace, and fulfillment this world has to offer, because you deserve it. If I thought I could be the one to give it to you, I gladly would.
"The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way."
~William James
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Re: Tell someone they exhibit symptoms of HPD?

Postby sofrance1 » Thu May 27, 2010 2:37 pm

I think its a really nice letter.

If you what you want is no contact however I would be wary. Life is rarely as neat as "lets have this one call then not have contact for 3 months". Contact leads to more and more and more contact. If I was you I would operate self-preservation. It is not your job to help and save her.
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Re: Tell someone they exhibit symptoms of HPD?

Postby Principled Man » Thu May 27, 2010 7:28 pm

sofrance1 wrote:I think its a really nice letter.

If you what you want is no contact however I would be wary. Life is rarely as neat as "lets have this one call then not have contact for 3 months". Contact leads to more and more and more contact. If I was you I would operate self-preservation. It is not your job to help and save her.


Thanks, sofrance1. I know you are right. It's frustrating sitting by while she sends me songs, and long emails begging me to give us a chance. I love it of course while at the same time it causes me pain to ignore her because of my dependent tendencies. "It is not my job to help and save her," as you say and, maybe she doesn't need saving at all. I guess because of my own self-awareness I would like to know to what extent she is self-aware about her challenges experiencing intimacy. I assume that's what she wants. A good question would be why I want to know that. Probably so that I can attain the intimacy I so desperately crave with her. Blech!

From reading other post, I see you are HPD. Does it make a difference to you knowing you are HPD? What did you know before you knew, if you understand what I mean. Does it make a difference to you now that you know? Are you glad to know?
"The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way."
~William James
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Re: Tell someone they exhibit symptoms of HPD?

Postby sofrance1 » Fri May 28, 2010 12:23 am

Hi, I think your reply asks some really interesting questions. Not sure I know the answer but more than happy to answer from my perspective.

Regarding intimacy. Yes this is something that certainly I crave and yet never really attain. I do not know if I am capable of attaining it. When I initially meet someone there are occasions when I think "yes, this is someone I can have an intimate relationship with". Of course for every one of these occasions there are 50 where it is just a flirt, someone to add to the fan clun, nothing more. I am sure to an outside observer, they would not be able to tell the difference. Initially I probably can't.

Sometimes I think it is an intimate relationship and I constantly question myself and say to myself "you have been here so many times before, make sure this one is real, don't do it if you aren't". I am sure though so do it. Then a couple of weeks later its changed. I feel like my feelings were fake. I got caught up in a moment and then that moment is gone. Sometimes I despise the person for the feelings I had that I realise were so fake. Crazy? Absolutely, but I still cannot help those feelings. I do try to stop myself getting into these situations and they do not actually happen that often. Its more often the fan club route. Its more about how people react than the initial meeting. But you always have this nagging doubt, what if this time this is real. What if my feelings don't change. What if this is "the one".

With regards to the question of are you better off for knowing you have HPD or not, I actually thought about it when I replied to your original post.

I was well aware of myself and my "odd" reactions and my behaviour. I suppose I was all too well aware that I had all the "symptoms" of HPD and could do nothing to change them. When I was diagnosed and read all the literature it was "wow!" there is a reason for this. It simply gave me a lable though to give to those symptoms. I am pleased I know what it is as I have more self-awareness because of it. However I managed for 25 years without knowing I had an extreme personality and I don't honestly believe I am significantly better off for knowing. I certainly would have been ok if I hadn't known. I do find the subject a very interesting one though.
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Re: Tell someone they exhibit symptoms of HPD?

Postby Principled Man » Fri May 28, 2010 7:21 am

Thank you sofrance1 for this insightful and honest reply. You must be have HPD and I am certainly dependent because I think I am falling for you. :wink: :lol:

The real funny thing is how much I could relate to your post. It's very hard to see it in myself but I as I read more and understand better I see that I (also?) have shallow and shifting emotions, yet I experience them very deeply. I am sensitive and I feel too much, yet - this is so hard to explain - it's that I feel shallow emotions very deeply. For the rest I put on a great act, I talk a big game about love, marriage, whisper sweet nothings, lots of eye staring, but it really has nothing to do with the person I'm with just my own gratification. But I like to pretend that that's not true, that I really do love - so deeply - and that if THEY were just available THEN I could be happy and so would they. Happily ever after. The thing with me, however, is that the feelings never change, I never let go of the dream, the idealization stays with me forever no matter how contrary the evidence! My rational mind is incapable of overriding the insane compulsion to ... I don't know, receive love? Ugh! I am the one who can't love, who can't truly be vulnurable.

I am very tempted to send her that email today. I see that it is an attempt to reattach the hose, to suck up some intimacy, no matter how shallow it may be. The compulsion is coming on strong.... Must. Get. Approval.
"The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way."
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Re: Tell someone they exhibit symptoms of HPD?

Postby Principled Man » Fri May 28, 2010 9:32 pm

I didn't send the email. The compulsion passed. I can't stay off the forum. Still obsessing about her. For some reason being involved with her confronted me with myself in a very tragic way. All the hurt, and fear, and anger that lies in the root of my being (I hate the term 'inner child', but something like that might apply here) has been exposed as a result of my interactions with her. I feel terribly wounded, but not because of her, but because for some strange reason her disorder reflected my own back to me.
"The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way."
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Re: Tell someone they exhibit symptoms of HPD?

Postby janey » Fri May 28, 2010 10:13 pm

PrincipledMan, this seems to be a classic case of co-dependency. l am glad that you didn't send her the e mail, as this would have inevitably led to further contact, which would have been damaging to both of you. All of my serious relationships were with alcoholics, and in each case it was the classic co-dependency scenario. Sofrance's comments made a lot of sense, you can only atttempt to "fix" yourself, nobody else. What you said about the shallow emotions hit a chord with me. Our emotions are described as "shallow", yet for me they are deeply felt at the time, even though they are short lasting. Everything for me is intense, it either "is" or "isn't", if you see what l mean. l can only compare the emotions of hpds and other personality disordered people to the emotions of a small child, who will cry intensely for what seems, to an adult, something trivial. Within the space of ten minutes, the same child will be laughing with pure joy for no real reason at all. lt is as if the part of the brain that deals with and processes emotions has not caught up with the intellectual side of the brain. lt is also common for the personality disordered to reason with emotion and not logic, and this is precisely what you would be doing if you were to e mail this woman. Do you think there is maybe a little bit of projection going on here, and by attempting to try to "fix" her, you are, in reality, on some level, trying to "fix" yourself? l may be wrong on that, but think about it. Like alcoholics, histrionics will not take on board another persons concerns that they are ill. This is something that they have to discover for themselves, and this will only happen if something goes drastically wrong in their lives, when they hit their own "rock bottom". ln a co dependent relationship, you will each drag the other down. Look after yourself, your emotional well being and sanity. Good luck in all you do.
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Re: Tell someone they exhibit symptoms of HPD?

Postby Principled Man » Sat May 29, 2010 8:26 pm

Thanks, Janey. You make some great points and thank you for putting it in a language I understand. This is classic co-dependent stuff. I get it. In fact as a result of this relationship I was led to a book "No More Mr. Nice Guy." Great reading for a co-dependent man. I also understand (in my finer moments) that walking away and cutting contact with her is the best way to help her. The comparison with alcoholism is apt. It wasn't until all the supports were gone and my self-hatred and belief in the futility of life became absolute that I was able to start recovering. But I also believe alcoholism is a symptom of an underlying personality disorder. That is why living sober is so difficult for an alcoholic, who needs lifetime support and daily vigilance to attain the personality change sufficient to overcome the compulsion to drink (among other things).

That being said, for many alcoholics co-dependence is part of the underlying personality structure, so despite knowing better the compulsion to get approval is strong. Trying to overcome this, I imagine, is a bit like a histrionic trying to change. Co-dependent is not something I have, it's what I am. Change is bloody hard and never permanent.

I am struck, in fact, by the similarities between co-dependence and Histrionics. In both cases, the sense of self is malleable and easily influenced. The primary fear is abandonment and not getting approval. There is a core belief that one is "bad" or unloveable. The co-dependent seems to be the Histrionic inside out. HDP individuals are overly sexual. Many co-dependent men, on the other hand, fear or are ashamed of their overt sexuality but have secret sexual compulsions. There's a line in the book "No More Mr. Nice Guy", "The nicer the guy the darker the sexual secret." Whereas the histrionic asserts self, using the body, seduction, attention seeking, to get needs met; the co-dependent loses self, constantly twisting oneself in a pretzel to satisfy the needs of others in the hope of getting one's own needs met as a result. Histrionics place blame, co-dependents take on blame, always just trying harder to get their needs met covertly, by fixing, or being good. I'm sure I could take this further, but I've written enough. I know I've got to work on myself. I just know what's it's like to despise oneself (I once believed no one could hate themselves as much as I did). And I know what's it's like to feel victimized by the world and believe you've got to fight for your right to get your needs met in this cold, dark, evil place. I don't believe these things anymore and it breaks my heart to know that others have also been victimized and come to believe it. I know there's a better way.
"The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way."
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Re: Tell someone they exhibit symptoms of HPD?

Postby Principled Man » Sat May 29, 2010 8:40 pm

Over 30 days no contact. I just got a text from her: 'You are missing here; I miss you so much.' What am I supposed to do when all I want is to love and be loved? When someone is sending me things like this is melts my heart. I miss her too. I hate walking away even though it is healthy for me. If I wasn't reading all the things on this forum about other histrionics doing the same thing, I'd never survive. It would be a rapturous reuniting. I feel so sad.
"The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way."
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Re: Tell someone they exhibit symptoms of HPD?

Postby janey » Sat May 29, 2010 9:55 pm

Hi there. lt's three steps forward, two back. Just when you are coming to terms with things, you recieve a text and feel like you're back where you started. lt's not easy. You say you only want to be loved, but you must ask yourself - is this really love? ls it the type of love that would leave you with your sense of worth intact. Only you can decide what you must do, whether it is a good move or not, it has to be your decisison. Just realise one thing, this forum is here for you. All you people out there, with your idiosyncracies, your various situations and your user names, you are invisible strangers, and yet you are friends. lt's beginning to feel like a real community for me, and that's not my disorder making me believe friendships are more intimate than they really are. On here, you can post, and ponder, and there will always be someone with words of help and encouragement. l don't know what you will decide to do. You are torn between contacting her and "being strong". lt is not my place, or anyone elses place, to tell you what you must do, only to tell you that you are a person of worth and value, and that in some ways you will find inner strength to help you through this, no matter what you decide to do. lf you feel sad, vent on this forum, let out your emotions, and know that you are amongst friends. Thinking of you and beginning to feel empathic.
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