Thursday, January 14, 2010

BPD Mirroring: Meet Your Soul Mate

When you met the BPD in your life, did you feel like you had met your soul mate?
Did you feel like that person had the same interests as you?
Did you feel like that person had same taste in style? The same taste in food? The same taste in, most anything?
Did you feel like this person was just that person that you'd always dreamed about?

Most of us Nons did too.

It's one of those things that pulls you in and makes you feel like you're in heaven despite all the flags that are going off in your head. It's called BPD Mirroring -- what the borderline personality disordered do that helps pull you into the relationship, makes the non feel like they are head over heels in love, and keeps them committed for way longer than they should.

For me, this mirroring was big, given that I had come from a relationship where I was married to my complete opposite. Being with someone that I thought was so similar to me

BPD Mirroring Defined

Borderline Mirroring is the technique that they use to come close to the Non in their life when they are first entering the relationship. The borderline will align themselves with the Non, determining the Non's needs, then giving those needs to the Non.

From the Non's perspective, they feel like they have met their partner for life. Someone finally gets them. Wow. That's it. They're done.

This is usually when the BPD's fears, anxieties, rages and disorder shows, slowly but surely. Welcome to the world of a Borderline Personality.

The BPD Chameleon: An Undeveloped Sense of Self

The borderline doesn't consciously begin a relationship like this. They have usually been quite successful in establishing relationships, and they are so insecure that they fear that others will reject them if they portray their true selves.

We all have a bit of this; that's why we put our best foot forwards when we first start dating someone. However, with a borderline, this is even more pronounced.

The dance that a Non has with a borderline is actually quite more indepth, because in some relationships, the borderline will actually put their anxieties on the non, but we'll cover more of this in future posts.

Changes Over Time

As the relationship develops, the borderline will try their best to mirror the non, but slowly, you'll see things about the borderline that aren't congruent with the person that they had portrayed earlier in the relationship. When I first was dating the borderline, I told her that I was thinking about beginning to rent out halls and giving motivational speeches to those that needed it, and she told me that she was going to help others get their lives back on track.

I never realized just how off-track her life was.

When the borderline and I looked at houses together, I told her, "we have the same taste, so we know what we'll like." The truth was that I subconsciously knew that she would like whatever I did. She would because her fear of being alone was so great that she would not go against my wishes. Also, I didn't really know what her taste in houses was. Her house was the exact same style from the person that she bought the house, as they had sold her everything, including all of the furniture, in the house. The woman lacked much identity at all.

How To Address BPD Mirroring: Celebrate Differences

The borderline feels that their partner must be exactly the same as their partner; anything else kicks their fear of abandonment into high gear. Clearly, identifying differences and helping the borderline celebrate these differences is critical for the relationship to survive.

I'll post more on this in future posts, particularly how to identify Borderline Mirroring and more on how to address. If you're coming out of a relationship with a borderline, recognize this mirroring and watch for it in future relationships. We are, after all, usually pretty susceptible to repeating our borderline relationships.


  1. This is part of why I belive my ex said that we were incompatible this last time when she broke things off. She was probably already 'mirroring' the new guy she has jumped into a new relationship with. She also mirrored back a lot of the concerns I had recently shared with her (not that I was intending to break things off because I said I wanted to keep working on them) as further reasons why we could no longer be together. At that time I was like wtf from shock and thinking to myself we have gone though so much worse (drama) and we got back together, why the hell are you thinking like this now. I realize she didn't even have enough of her own reasons to make the decision!

  2. I am so glad that you posted something about this. When I met my ex bpd boyfriend, I was worried that we were TOO different. I'm a little older and appeared to live a different life than him. He told me he was a "nomad" and I told him that I don't live like a "nomad." All of a sudden he "claimed" to live like me, dress like me, like the same music, liked the outdoors lifestyle, wanted to be a "family" man, like the same movies and seemed to really "get me." Even thought I saw f'd up behavior early on, I thought I met "the one" and that all of that odd behavior will go away once he realizes I'm not "out to get him."

    Then at the end he sent me a message saying that I tried to "change him." I NEVER once asked him to be someone else or mirror me in any way. He was so empty inside that he couldn't let me know his real life, so he just copied whatever I liked. It sucked me in.

    But he claimed to want to live like I did, but he didn't show it too often. So it was very confusing. I later found out that he mirrored his ex before me also, and the one before her.

    It was really extreme. I thought I met my soul mate and I was "all done" looking also. Turns out, like I thought in the beginning, we were very different. And we have very different beliefs and even how to live day to day.

    Very sad and very hard to come to terms with.

  3. I was thinking today about how during out last get together where I feel I had made a lot of signifigant changes for the better that were seperate issues from out dysfunctional relationship (smoking, excessive drinking, not eating out as much, etc) and how she had commented (even up until she dumped me again) about how she could see those changes. In fact we often commented on how things were so different this time (hence why I was fooled into thinking she wouldn't leave again or repeat her patterns). We didn't smoke together, used very little EtOH, ate in more, etc. Eventually though she did mention smoking and even brought some for us to try because we use to love to get high and have amazing sex. I even kidded with her that she liked it better with me when I was high. Through all this I had fooled myself into thinking that maybe she had changed also but now I'm realizing that I was the only one who had actually changed! She of course is back at the smoking and drinking while I am content to not cope with the loss of her through those excesses. I'm realizing that I'm growing...of course my worst addiction (her) still likes to raise it's ugly head in my thoughts daily but there will not be another drinking and driving episode in response to missing her. It's become more obvious that she couldn't handle not coping by using as I recall a night when she came over drunk and passed out in my room while I was out entertaining guest at my place. I also recognized how when we did have a bit too much to drink together a couple of times she some kind of comments to me that made me leave her where we were. Because I was drinking I don't recall what exactly it was that triggered me but it made me angry enough to leave her there! Later when I made my way back to her place I recall how she already had my things tossed out into the hallway of her apartment building. When I left her it definately triggered her abadonment fears to the point of rage and get the F out of my life. Of course we made up in a day and I am still greatly sorry and not happy that I even did that to someone I honestly care about but I think it just shows the real chaos in that relationship. I acted in ways that I had never thought possible when I was with her...

  4. volpino:....

    I also recall times when I was out drinking with me exBPDgf and she said something that made me react in a way that triggered her rage or abandonment fears. Usually it was an "unfair" question or something that made me focus on her.

    One in particular sticks in my ind where she asked me to tell her what I lied about her. I said she was "nice" and some other things but all she focused on was the "nice part.

    "Nobody wants to hear that they are nice! I've been told I am cold! I am not nice".

    Well she certainly had me fooled because that "niceness" certainly wasn't consistent after that evening.

    She also focused on "making sure" she didn;t discuss our relationship with other guys because "that was dangerous". I figured she just respected our relationship but really she just knew how weak she was to an emotional connection to someone else.

    Someone wrote above that the mirroring of their ex-bpdgf was that of the attitudes of a new guy - so true! All of a sudden you're like where did "relationships should be equal share" come from?!

    For my own part I was always the individual at first and she gradually wore away that individuality until I probably started mirroring her and then she wondered who I was and that I tricked HER and was incongruous. By this stage I am not surprised I was incongruous because I had had to make a million compromises to stay with her.

    She once told me that in relationships she had always spent all her time with her boyfriend and with me it was different, that she had never had a relationship like this and that I was a "part-time" boyfriend. Oh brother.

    1. Oh my poor friend, It takes great Self Esteem and Self worth to deal with being in a relationship with a Borderline. i have been in and off a relationship with the same person for 14 years... I know them 18 years.... She is my world... but she is a true and heavy BPD, and it is a very thin line especially when they do not want to know about their illness... but there are ways to try to work it out.. Remember SET you can google it with the word bordernline but what it stands for is Sensitivity, Empathy and Truth, never defend yourself... there is not point, Do Not Allow your Self Esteem to be torn away... this is extremely difficult due to the pedestal you sit on, and how fast you will get knocked of f like humpty dumpty ass deep in eggshells.... Remember, BPDs are love worthy, and deserve our love, especially when you seem to be meant for eachother.. I deal with the roller coaster everyday, I do not fear anymore, and I swept away the egg shells long ago, but sometimes the whole spin on a dime thing makes you think twice....

      Hell, I do it at least every other day, depending on how things roll... but I have learned to protect myself esteem first, so I can be strong enough to be there for my BPD who feels dumped, abandoned, who feels like no one understands what she really feels hurts and is painful. Even if it is petty, childish, or just plain stupid...

      Remember, Sensitivity, Empathy and Truth.. If you Love your BPD... and keep reading and searching and blogging and find support for yourself.... OK I am of my soap box... thanks for reading my reply...

  5. As lovely as these BPD and HPD people are, and how much emotion and sympathy they can evoke from you.. and as sad as the whole thing is, they are bound to repeat and suffer over and over again. You have to remember they are seriously disordered. They can fake anything and can take you, the weakened NON BPD soul, down a road that will seem like you have the mental illness. You wil suffer all of what they went through as a child and in that siuffering you may start to undersadn a littel of what made them the way that they are; emotionally distruaght. They are not well at all. And niether may you be, but you can recover by getting away from them and time, they cannot. Any fantasy you may have about saving them and bringing them back to thier center will be a lost cause.. and typically you will be the one who gets lost in the end.. they are beyond the point of being able to help and nurture; I woudl have never have said that four years ago.. because my belifes were differnt.. but them again, i never had to deal with mental illness before. The fact is, Most BDP are used to chaotic relationships and have created such turmoil in the past that they come to expect insain behaviour from you . Once they find you, and identify you weakness or the streanth you have and that they wanto emmulate them, and if you are kind and caring and ready for a deep relationship.. they may mirror your goodness for a while. But their illness is chronic and dealdly, it will come back. Thier emotions and mind will regresses back into the sad and scarey BPD/ HPD place that is not ‘normal’ at all.....thr ensuing confusion and emotinoal abise and verbal abuse and threats, can vamp you emotionally ...and for all the good they have inside.. they will make sure they project all thier garbage onto you .. and the more garbage of thiers you accept,, the more they will dump on you , yhe more you ‘love them” and try to help them, the more you do for them, the more you prove you care, the will start to freak out and dump more on you , ... they will let you carry thier illness as if it was your own.
    Save your self. Leave them... get some help.. move one. Try not to let all the harmfull things they said to you and threats they made destroy you. It’s mnot goig to be easy and the qicker you get out.. the better for you and the people around you.

  6. these people are truly insane. we have to remember they feel COMFORTABLE in the chaos they create. all i can say is they are emotionally damaged, and emotionally damaging. they will show their real side soon in the relationship. never doubt what you are seeing. i know its hard to believe, but the minute you begin to think you are the one with the screw loose, HIT THE ROAD!!!!!!!!

  7. I just know a lot of us still care for your ex-BDP partners and they continue to affect our feelings long after we parted from us. They completely break us and the road to recovery is long and hard. Many of us feel we will never love again because we can't trust anyone not to hurt us like they did. Some of us will still love our ex-BDP and don't want to love again.

    The pain they cause is immense and feeling of loss is like a bottomless pit. The way they cut us off from the love they once gave us is both curl and inhuman. Losing a ex-BDP partner is worse than a death of a close family member because the love you lose is so complete. Couple this with knowing they have someone else who they are giving that love too, when they said they would love no other destroys your soul. Not only do you know they are smearing you name and reputation but they are giving all that made you feel like the world was so complete to someone else. They break families, children and themselves. This has to be the most horrible mental condition as it affects everyone that comes into contact with them.

    I do still care, but the price I pay is despair. Just when you think your getting somewhere it all seems to fall apart. My problem is I care about everyone and don't know how to stop, even when it comes to those that are beyond care itself. Thankfully this blog proves you can recover but it is a long hard path.

    I want to thank all who post comments and the author of the Blog for giving us poor broken souls hope.

  8. So glad to see these comments. You feel so crazy when it seems the BPD's personality has suddenly changed. You end up thinking that you were silly for not noticing the real BPD, when in reality, subconsciously or consciously, the BPD was hiding their true identity. That's what my friends always asked me, "Didn't you know he was like this before you married him?" I felt so much guilt for not knowing he would be violent,and continue to hurt and rage. I echoed his excuses that it was his circumstances. And I could also never understand why he insisted I was just like his abusive mother, when no one I knew saw any resemblance. He both hated her and loved her, and she was truly the evil mother-in-law to me,no matter how much I tried to be her friend. It's hard to know, when you're taught to love and care for others, when and how to love yourself enough to leave.I had this angst that my BPD husband would continue to hurt because he would never understand how much I truly loved him. But he would not deal with the root of his pain. He was too afraid. I am now convinced that there was nothing I could do to help him. BPD's must help themselves.

  9. BPD's will break you until you stop allowing them to. It's their nature. My ex gfBPD, she would take me to the heavens one day, the next I'd be in hell. That is not a healthy relationship. Once you feel that you are doing all the giving, and not "getting"...that's when you need to realize you don't need to lower your emotional needs for ANYONE! Remember, every single new person a BPD "falls in love with" is "the love of THEIR life"...they are incapable of true love and incapable of telling the truth. When your gut tells you to run, RUN!


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