BPD + Co-Depedency = The Perfect Storm

This post was written by Rhonda Wasserman

Original content by Ashley Berges

What makes a relationship toxic?  The word toxic seems to be a common word thrown around to describe turbulent relationships.  Toxicity in a relationship may be directly related to our inability to see someone else’s value.  Why are we not able to see someone else’s value? Most often there is an underlying reason as to why we are not able to see value in someone else.  When dealing with people who have signs and symptoms of BPD together with people who have signs and symptoms of co-dependency the perfect storm is created. 

When someone has co-dependent tendencies, they want to do things for others.  They go out of their way to do these things because it makes them feel more valuable and worthy. The co-dependent feels valued when they do for others. On the other side of the coin, the person who has the signs and symptoms of BPD most likely, is not self-aware.  This lack of self-awareness prevents them from understanding the co-dependent.  This creates a situation where one person is constantly doing for the other. The person they are doing for does not see the value in the other person. 

 Often, the person who has the signs and symptoms of BPD is not able to see their own value.  The co-dependent is always hoping that the person with the BPD tendencies is able to see how much they love and care for them.  Unfortunately, it rarely turns out that way.  Most often, folks with signs and symptoms of BPD do not understand why other people are doing so much for them.  Ultimately, not seeing the value in the other person the majority of the time.  

Over time, the co-dependent gets a false sense of hope that the person with the signs and symptoms of BPD will see their value. Very often the person with BPD tendencies has strong feelings of abandonment.  When they begin to feel the co-dependent pulling away or emotionally distancing themselves, they react by giving the co-dependent positive reinforcement. This positive reinforcement in an attempt to draw them back in and keep them from leaving. These crumbs keep the co-dependent in the relationship, giving them false hope that the BPD is able to see their value.  However, after the fear of abandonment subsides everything goes back to the way it was.  Over time the co-dependent feels as though they are being taken advantage of, and does not matter in the relationship.  This fear of abandonment followed by positive reinforcement, returning to normalcy, and finally feeling unimportant again becomes a vicious cycle that plays out time and time again.  This whole scenario sets us up for what we would call, the perfect storm.  

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