People with borderline or narcissistic personality disorders have a serious mental illness that primarily affects their intimate, personal, and family relationships. Often they appear to be normally functioning at work and in public interactions, and narcissists may even be highly effective, in the short term, in some work or social situations. However, in intimate relationships, they can be emotional, aggressive, demeaning, illogical, paranoid, accusing, and controlling - in the extreme. Their ability to function normally or pleasantly can suddenly change in an instant, like flipping a switch. These negative behaviors don't happen once in a while; they happen almost continuously in their intimate relationships - most often and especially with their caretaker family member. Here, Margalis Fjelstad describes how people get into a caretaker role with a borderline or narcissist, and how they can get out.
Caretakers give up their sense of self to become who and what the borderline or narcissist needs them to be. This compromises the caretaker's self-esteem, distorts their thinking processes, and locks them into a victim-persecutor-rescuer pattern with the borderline or narcissist. The book looks at the underlying rules and expectations in these relationships and shows caretakers how to move themselves out of these rigid interactions and into a healthier, more productive, and positive lifestyle - with or without the borderline/narcissistic partner or family member. It describes how to get out of destructive interactions with the borderline or narcissist and how to take new, more effective actions to focus on personal wants, needs, and life goals while allowing the borderline or narcissist to take care of themselves. It presents a realistic, yet compassionate, attitude toward the self-destructive nature of these relationships, and gives real-life examples of how individuals have let go of their caretaker behaviors with creative and effective solutions.
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Want to help someone change? This is for you.
I am a physician. This book is outstanding. I got it for a close friend. He is the caretaker of a borderline/narcissist. They met under turbulent circumstances and he helped bring order to her life. He became her hero. She adored him and brought fun and excitement into his life. He gave her a lot and helped change her life circumstances, yet the drama continued in other directions, engulfing him as well. My friend's previously calm and logical life was constantly in a tizzy and he couldn't figure out why.
Now he gets it. It's not him. She has a mental illness and he can't change that. The more he tries to change her, the more the madness continues.
This book is about acceptance and moving forward. It teaches you to care for a loved one without fixing them. It teaches you your own role in the madness. And that is great. Because ultimately, you can change your own behavior. And once you do, change will come. Get this book. It is nonjudgemental, unlike so much of our culture, and allows you to keep loving the person in your life. You will be the change.
- Jesus I. Ramirez