Push Me – Pull You : The Push-Pull Cycle form blogger Haven’s Beyond the Borderline Personality


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Push Me – Pull You : The Push-Pull Cycle

The Push-Pull cycle in Borderline Personality Disorder is complicated. There’s a million different variables that lead into and cause various episodes of this; love, fear, abandonment, dissociation, object constancy, splitting, etc. I’ve talked about the push-pull cycle, mentioned aspects of it in various places, but I don’t believe I’ve tried to pull it all together in one place. So let’s do that.

Push-Pull – is a chronic pattern of sabotaging and re-establishing closeness in a relationship without apparent cause or reason. It’s that back and forth feeling of wanting to be close to someone, letting them into a more intimate and vulnerable position in our life, being suffocated, or becoming afraid of that vulnerability, needing to escape [potentially] being hurt, fearing the loss, acting on that fear, and then desperately trying to get that person back from fear of that abandonment, often by apologizing profusely and doing everything we can to be perfect for them again. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

Often for me this breaks down to two key factors; wanting to be intimately close to someone, and fear of being hurt/abandoned by them at the same time. The closer you allow someone to get to you, the more vulnerable you become to the reality that they are now in a position to hurt you more than other people. If you keep people at a distance you have a safety zone, an emotional buffer. But this doesn’t allow for true intimacy.

It’s that whole threat of intimacy. I want to be close, but I want to be safe too. The closer someone gets, the more able they are to hurt me. So someone gets too close, I push away. Half the time I think it’s for their own good! I know my issues. I’ve ruminated on the millions of possibilities that could happen if someone gets close enough to see the “real me”. The illusion of perfection will be shattered in the tarnished portrait of the bad person I really am. For as much as I want love, want to love, I don’t always believe I deserve it because I know how much has happened to me, everything I’ve done, all my baggage is too much to place on another person. What right do I have to unload all of this onto someone? So pushing away really is for their own good after all. Of course I’m rationalizing, but it’s true to me regardless. But then I’m left alone, I get lonely, and I miss the closeness that was there, and I want to pull back.

For the most part I think it’s a fear response. Fear that we will be left, that we aren’t worthy of being loved, that people are lying and trying to use us… an endless list of other things. We need reassurance and it takes a lot of energy to show us that. Unfortunately it’s a part of our nature to need this. It’s also a part of our nature to feel smothered by it, push it away, fear the loss of it, frantically try to retrieve it, and repeat the cycle endlessly, for as long as someone will let us.

From my article on Baiting and Picking Fights:
There’s something else though. An element of, if the other person will allow me to push, stay with me through the hurtful things I do, it ‘proves’ that they won’t abandon me. The more we can push away, the more baits and barbs we can throw, the more fights we can pick, the longer they show that they’ll tolerate it or try to work it out with us, the more we can believe that they mean what they say and aren’t trying to deceive us … If we can make someone we care for SO ANGRY, they’ll either prove us right, or prove us wrong. Either way we’ll know something for sure, and it stops (momentarily) the constant second guessing going on in our heads. Believing someone, trusting someone… I know I’ve been hurt so badly that I can never fully do this. That doesn’t mean I don’t want it. I just have to test the fences to be sure.

I think what triggers unstable behavior in relationships is the magnitude of intimacy. The closer the relationship, the more invested we are, the more frightening the possibility of it ending becomes. Funny, that this is almost always a self-fulfilling prophecy. We become frightened something will happen, we act in ways to push people away, to distance ourselves from them, before they can hurt us, and this very act is what starts the downward spiral into the destruction of the relationship. It sounds clean cut when you look at it like that, but it never is.

The pushing away is gradual. Often we don’t even recognize the things we do that manifest as pushing people away. Our thoughts and actions seem quite rational to our traumatized mind. No one sees it coming, not even us most of the time.

Hypersensitive to feeling trapped! This is one of the biggest triggers that makes me push away in relationships. It’s coupled by the sensation of being smothered. Boring-Ex smothered me. He’d coddle me. I would see him and I would have no room to express myself, be myself, I would lose myself because he would criticize when I did express myself. His personality was so overbearing that I could feel the air being slowly sucked out of my lungs whenever I was near him. I didn’t feel like I could be me, and the only way I knew to reestablish that was to eliminate the problem that created this deficit; the relationship. I did try talking to him about these things, but he wasn’t the kind to compromise.

That’s not to say that everything that goes on is purely in our own minds and created by our fears. Things are often brought about by how the other person treats us. I’ll do so much for people, pull people close, meet their needs and demands, and then eventually I’ll flip. I’ll be completely overwhelmed by what someone else wants when it’s not what I want. This often happens because I’ll take on so much responsibility for “our happiness” that I don’t express what I need in a constructive way. Instead, I’ll feel like I’m losing my sense of Self to their needs, not my own, that what I’ve just been doing is now too much, being taken advantage of, a demand instead of a desire, expected not appreciated and I’ll have to Push away to regain control of my own situation. It’s not quite the same as the traditional Push-Pull explanation, but the sentiments match up. It inspires feelings of resentment and resistance coupled with the borderline flipside desire to not be abandoned and needing approval. Can’t be too aggressive otherwise we’ll push people away irrevocably, can’t be too passive and just let things slide because then we’re just being taken advantage of and the resentment builds to explosion.

A Non may have done nothing wrong, they may have unintentionally triggered us, or they may be someone that we’re afraid to get too close to because we can see the potential for an intimate relationship. Seeing the potential doesn’t mean we’re prepared to deal with it though. For me, and for many with BPD, there is a lot of abuse, a lot of hurt, a lot of pain in our past, and each new relationship is an opportunity to repeat that process. We have to move slow, emotionally. I often move fast physically to stave off the emotional intimacy that I really need. When I sense things getting too close, closer than I prepared to handle, I need to reestablish a safe zone, I push back. Sometimes this just means taking some space, sometimes it manifests as baiting and picking fights, sometimes it means dropping off the radar completely until I’m ready to rejoin humanity. What I want is to be close, but not too close. I can’t figure out how to do this without pushing away and pulling closer. Allowing someone in, and then forcing them back out.

How do you cultivate trust when you’ve been so wounded? How do you cultivate trust when you don’t actually know how to trust?
Finally, this also happens when we plain just don’t want to be with someone anymore. I’m not going to lie. This is exactly what happened with Boring-Ex. I wasn’t attracted to him when we were together. The only time I was attracted to him was when we were breaking up. I absolutely believe this was because I was more afraid of The Loss and not necessarily the loss of him. So I would pull him back to me, despite the fact that I knew deep down that I didn’t really want to be with him. It still FELT like I did. In the moment I absolutely believed I needed to be with him. It was the fear of that loss that triggered my need to pull him back to me though.
The Push-Pull cycle is insidious. It sneaks up on you. Neither person may notice it at first because it begins so small. Only once it escalates do you really realize what is happening.


My Days Productivity

Today I had a productive day. i accomplished alot yet still have things leftover from the day I needed to do and lost track of time before I could do it.

I got up earlier than the alarm this morning. i took my shower, did the floors, ate my oatmeal with banana, and prepared myself for my day to come. My worker came and we went to the bank to get some information I needed along with speaking with the bank manager regarding my savings account closure and a direct deposit I get. After the bank we went to my doctors appointment, where I was able to have my stictches removed and speak with the doctor regarding some neurological issues I experienced last week which was an adverse reaction to some medication. i then got a neurology referal and a blood test to see if one of my immunizations serum is up to level to see if I need the immunization or not. i will here from the doctors office once a nuerology appointment has been setup for me.
I then got home, hade lunch which I prepared ahead of time, and went to the Center for Recovery and wellness, the local peer recovery center close by. there I attended the support group along with spoke with a couple peers and then came home.
once home I called social security to change my direct deposit but it wont go into effect until March 2013 check. But I got it done without being overwhelmed and effectively was able to communicate with people to get my goal accomplished this time. I was prepared before calling and patiently waited my turn for more than 45 minutes on hold while awaiting the agent on the phone. Then I spoke with the director at the agency where my mental health supports come from and talked with her about my concerns and my goals. I spoke with her about whats going on with me and inquired about the meeting I will be having with them all. She reminded me about needing to call the free clinic to speak with the person in charge of the program for getting glasses and an eye exam. Which when I was done with her I tried to call the lady but it was too late in the day and she had already left for the day. So I must call her tomorrow. i also plan on calling and trying to get an appointment with a therapist tomorrow for sometime in the coming few weeks. I plan on going to the NOURISH group at the peer center tomorrow and hopefully working on some sewing.
I ate my supper and talked on the phone with a friend for over an hour. I had homemade blackbean veggie burger pattie browned in olive oil with a diet gingerale. Then I sat down and did some stuff online and played some games. I tried to work on my treatment plan expansion but got discouraged and felt its overly general and unobtainable. I needed to discus this stuff with my worker but she was unavailable so I left a message. Upon my contemplation I become sorry for my complaining and negativity towards my workers hard work placed into setting my goals and for expressing my opinions to her on the voicemail. she did call me back but had not listened to it. Just saw I called and reurned the call. sometimes its as if she does not care about what i have to say or what i think. It is the way it is and thats that. I truly am being more open and vulnerable with her and other treatment providers. but it comes at a cost. there is a price but I also gain inner peace with some of my conformity. I am unsure wether to trust the difference in my own attitude and others attitude towards me. Others have become more open and cating but I find it difficult to trust the changes. I am not sure if its just there because of fear and will fade away along with everything else people in my say. But I am working on things and becoming a better person in my struggles at the moment. I am more aware and less stressed. i am functioning and coping effectively with my life and the hassles life give me. i am embracing them rather than dreading and hiding from them.

The Day is Coming To a Close

As my day winds down and the night came I feel focused. I have clarity in my mind and my thoughts. I had a productive day even though I hardly got anything done I had planned and wanted to. I still managed to have a nice relaxing productive day in my eyes.
I did some writing. I played some games both on the computer and on my android phone. I managed to cope with some difficult people and a distressing finding. Now to actually try to fix the issue with my check tomorrow will be the harsd part. I need to change my direct deposit over from a previously opened savings account to a checking account I have since the bank closed my savings account. It is distressing because my check is due to be direct deposited into that account come Friday the 1st of February and now I know it is going to be messed up and I will struggle until this issue is fixed including I may get my internet shut off as my supplemental check will only cover my rent and leaves $47 left. My internet is $83. It is worrisome but I am managing it and have been able not to obsess over it repeatedly today.
I have thought alot today about relationships and how we never kbow how long we have or others have to live and that we need to let people know we care as much as we can and whenever we have the chance to show them as we never know when we will no longer have them or they will no longer have us. I am working on forgiveness but I need to write a letter to my mother. I dont like things left unsaid as they are and have been. I also need to write to my children and my son. My youngest 2 childrens birthdayys are this coming month and one will be 8 and the other nine. Boy oh how time flies.
I want to go back to school and have wanted to for a while. i am working on ways to be able to do that. I am working on making a plan to pay off the college what I owe them and paying for my classes for one semester so I can get my financial aid back and follow through on my goals in my life.
I have to call and check on a new psychiatrist in the morning. I also have to call a therapist back that I may be able to start seeing. It has been 21 almost 22 months since I ended therapy with my previous therapist and my attempts to see another one since then have beeninterefered with by insurance and my personal beliefs conflicting with the therapists beliefs. This therapist is a male and I am scared but he has been highly recommened to me and I have been urged to see him for around 18 months now by several people including another of his clients. I just fear the fact he is a male. I do not trust well and especially males in the world. I have been hurt by many people and most of them were male. So I am taking a big step in my life and going to see how it goes.
I am going to get to bed on time tonight even though I have not got anything accomplished I needed to or would have liked. I may not have accomplished what I was supposed to today but I feel accomplished today because I am at peace with myself. i have an appointment with my medical doctor in the mid morning tomorrow and plan on going to a oeer support group in the afternoon tomorrow.

My day and odd fear and panic tonight


Today has been an odd day for me. It started out waking up early as it has been normal as of lately which is actually early for me but normal for me lately. Then I went out to the garden and worked on clearing the garden plot of the diseased plants and dumped the potato bucket that I thought was growing no potatoes in it but it had some in it and i ruined the growh process and so the potatos i got are real small. So I decided the potatoes i did get I am going to try to replant and get some bigger potatoes from the small ones. I also am preparing to plant some brocoli seeds, cabbage seeds, greens, squash, and some more green beans for the second crops of the season.

Then I spent some time on the computer and read several very interesting articles today. I alos labeled several pictures I had taken on vacation of my picture timeline of some of my life events. Some of it was hard to look at and go over some of the memories and of course some of the memories I skipped over and did not label nor view the picture. instead I quickly did the ones I could handle and when it became too much for me I suddenly felt overwelmed and tired and went and layed down to rest a while. Then my worker came.

We took a ride to a campground were we plan on going camping on the night of august 11th and sitting in front of the campfire and going out of a boat fishing and hopefully I am able to just let go of the outside life and leave everything else behind and just enjoy things. There has been so much anger within me lately I am sick ofit I just want for it to go away and for my walls to not be so thick and for them to come down a little as they had before. i had let them down before. My worker had earned her trust and worked hard at proving she was trustworthy enough for me to let my walls down but I quickly got scared and built them back up thicker and higher. I wish they were not there somedays as I want to get through the inner pain and experience joy with life. I want to experience inner peace, contentment, and happiness. I want to be okay with me and satisfied with who I am.

Then we came back to my house and chatted a while and as she was getting getting ready to leave I felt as if I had regressed. I did not want her to leave. I did not want her to go home. I wanted to go home with her. I thought she might never come back even though intectually I knew she would be back monday and I would see her then a Fear came over em that I was losing her and that she was leaving. I felt sad. I wanted to go with her for some reason. I asked her if I could go and she said no which I knew she was going to but yet I wanted to go. I did nto want to stay home. I was going to miss her and she was only going home to her house accross town for the weekend. As she pulled out the driveway I felt the tear come out my eye and walk away. I also felt stupid and unsure what was going on with me. I knew I was acting stupid and felt very emotional but yet was unsure why and was not sure why I was so attached at that moment as I had been so very angry with her for the past few weeks. This felt very strange and odd to me. I felt overwelmed by her leaving tonight and saddened. I almost felt as if I was losing her and I am not sure why. I felt a panic and cried when I came in the house. I felt like a stupid little child. I was crying for no reason. Well atleast I hope it was for no reason but I guess time will tell come Monday when I am scheduled to see he.


All needing said before I end it


As the time comes close I need for the people in my life to know I no longer can endure the emotions I feel nor the thoughts I have daily. i no longer can handle the anxiety and fear. i no longer want to continue living with the fear of not knowing whether or not my kids will truly seek me out and really want me in their lives. I no longer can handle missing the years I am missing with them now. I know there may be many years later in their life’s if I were to stay but if I stay here and await and they never want me in their lives then I have lived in pain for all those years suffering in silence and misery hurting others for nothing. I would rather leave this earth now and people grieve my loss than to continue making everyone else’s lives painful and miserable around me for the next at least 8-12 years only for them to still have to grieve the loss of me if I do not end up being able to have a relationship with my children then. Even then will I be able to be happy after losing them all those years and missing out on all that I missed out on. Even then will I be able to make it through their anger they have at me. will I be able to handle their anger at me not being there for them at me not being able to get my life stable to fight for them at me being able to not protect them from the system and the pain they suffered from the separation and loss. They are suffer just as I am if not more. they are experiencing abandonment just as I have in the past they are feeling the systems abusiveness just as I have and am. I cannot live much longer in this painfulness. I will no longer live this anymore. I will soon end this suffer for myself and my family and friends. I will no longer place people who are trying to and have tried to help me in the predicament of feeling helpless and not sure what to do to help me get to where I want to be. I will end everyone’s helplessness with me. I will end my suffering and along with that will help others come to terms with their own understandings of what I needed or did not need and hopefully I will help others in the future know that there is no understanding a mothers ambiguous loss. This is not the same as losing a child to death where you can eventually go through the stages of grief and eventually com to terms with it and move on. My children are out there. There are many children and almost every time I see children playing I look at them to see if one of them are my child. I want to sit outside of schools and watch the children as they go in and out of school to see if my child is going to that school. There are so many things I could be doing because there is not an end to my child’s life and my children are out there somewhere and I just cannot see them. It is just too much for me to keep enduring. I just cannot keep going through this. there are many things I cannot tell people for fear they may lock me up or say that I am a danger to children as I think about stalking and kidnapping my child that I do know where he is at. But yet when I think about it what kind of life would that be for him. How would he and I have to live? He would be unable to go to school. he would not be able to socialize. we would have to hide out in the wilderness and become hermits which would be unhealthy mentally and emotionally for him. I am not wanting to mentally or emotionally harm my child but mentally and emotionally the pain has gotten too much for me and I can no longer do this. I will no longer suffer in this pain or within this psychoticness I live. I live this way because I choose to not say anything to people even to the one person I feel is the only person I trust to any degree I have been unable to tell her some things for fear of being judge or put away in a state hospital and then being unable to follow through on ending this pain and so I limit some things I say. I filter it. I talk to her about the pain of missing them and the suffering of losing them and once I mentioned wishing I could kidnap them and live in the woods but that it was unhealthy but I do not tell that person how I have seriously entertained the idea and tried to plan it and had nightmares about it and being arrested for it. I do not talk to her about my fears that I may actually someday decide to do it because I cannot go on too much longer living without holding my children in my arms. So instead of causing my children pain and trauma I have decided I will prevent this. I will prevent everyone in my life any problems and prevent myself anymore pain and suffering by following through soon on the end.

I just want my children to know they were loved and I never wanted them to hurt. I never wanted for them to grow up the way they did . I always as I grew up said that I was not going to allow my children to experience what I experienced. I am sorry I failed them at that. I am sorry I was unable to protect you Autumn. Daniel I am sorry I was unable to shelter you from the emotional trauma and neglect you endured and that you had to experience the very same path I began at such a young age with going it a child residential for emotional difficulties. I only hope that you are able to use the help they offered and grow from it rather than oppose it and be angered by everyone who comes close to you and offers their care and love. I am sorry you have suffered the way you have so far in your short life so far. Autumn you are strong and as hard as the journey may be you were in such a hurry to get here into this world I know you will grow quickly through these struggles and become a strong woman. I wish I was there for you to hold your hand and wipe the tears away as you worked through the hard journey you are on but know I will be by your side watching you. Dakoata though you are small you are a tough little guy with the greatest of personalities. You are such a joyous little man and I know when you someday grow up you will understand and be a sensitive hardworking man and help your siblings realize how much they were loved and cared for by me. I love you dearly Kota. Winter you were my little girl my blessing though we did not have much time together and it was a difficult year you were my angel. My last born and such a tiny little one. I wish I was able to hold you more and that I was able to have had more time with you. I hope that you are blessed and Autumn and you are happy together. I loved you all.

Corey you were my first-born and all I have left as I make this decision. Though the years have been rough I want you to know you always have been loved and though this decision is being made it has nothing to do with you or anything you have done. You are a great young man and I want you to continue on with your life. I want you to make something of yourself. I want you to raise a family and settle down and have a wife someday. I want someday for you to seek out your brothers and sisters and build a relationship with them. I want you to love and cherish them as you will be their only link to me left. I want you to hold them and tell them about me and how much they were loved and how much I missed them. I want you to always remember them in your life and know they are your family. Never leave them behind or abandon them as my brothers do to me. please never treat your siblings as hateful as my siblings and I have treated each other and always remember the struggles we have endured to be together. I love you and am sorry. please know I am not doing this because of anything you have done or not do or because I do not love you. I am doing this because i am suffering and I do not want to keep making you or anyone else suffer because I am miserable. please remember this is not always the way to deal with things in life and it is not the answer to problems in life. But I see no other way to change things in life for you, me, or anyone else in my life or in the future. Things have been like this for many years and very rarely have their minutely felt better. though they sometimes have minutely felt better though only have for a day maybe or less than that. I am sorry for the pain I will cause you and anyone else. I want you to move on from this and follow whatever path of goals you desire though I like your thoughts of joining the marines I want you to do what will make you happy. bye I love you.


feeling dead and living on the edge


So why is it that everyone things I can do so much and that I am this person who can make it? When will people realize there is nothing inside me that is any good. When will people see and understand there is nothing I believe is of value in me? I do things many times and just do them just to do them. Sometimes in that moment the fear is what helps me get through. Sometimes there is no fear as there has been recently when no matter what the situation or what could happen it does not scare me. Whatever happens will be my own fault if and when something ever happens. When in situations such as I have been in and there is some thoughts or warning signals signalling danger in my mind it intrigues me. I desire to push that danger and see how far it will go. See if the it wont happen to me happens. Well anyways I doubt much can happen to me that would affect me as my life is already damaged to the bottom. I no longer feel what I had been feeling surrounding my shamefullness and hate for myself. I do not feel anything. i am just numb and void. I am not feeling much at this point and maybe that is what I need something to damage me more than I already am to help me feel what I should be feeling. Maybe I need someone else to do what I cannot seem to do to myself and succeed at it. Maybe if someone else does it then people in my life that care and my family will not be as damaged or effected by the finality of it all. But will it really happen not really, I doubt it will as it is not my destiny to go as soon as I desire I guess but I can push the limits and see how far they stretch before it’s too late and there is no coming back. Maybe I can get to a point where someone else will do to me what I am too cowardly to do to myself and finish the job that was started when I was a child. I was murdered back then just not physically but mentally and emotionally I was murdered now I am just awaiting the body to meet up with the deadness of the soul. I am already dead!