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 and 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 Caretaker's 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.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fjelstad´s book and I found it informative, exciting, and above all very well written. Fjelstad is truly honest and frank about the fact that the borderline and narcissist are mentally ill and unwilling to change. She is open about the fact that caretakers too get something from the situation and that it is up to them to break the cycle of caretaking since the BP or NP is not going to change their ways. Fjelstad's advice is well thought out and practical which makes them easier to follow and she provides the reader with specific ideas and examples to how the caretaker can make the changes needed to rid themselves of the power that the BP or NP has over them. . . . [T]he book is excellent material for anyone that is living with or has any involvement with a BP or a NP, close or distant, since the book fosters understanding of the disorders and the need of the caretaker. The book can be of great use to psychology student, especially those in clinical psychology or those focusing on personality disorders.--Metapsychology Online
PART I: UNDERSTANDING THE CARETAKER ROLE INTRODUCTION: HOW CAN I TELL IF I'M A CARETAKER? 1: IS MY PARTNER REALLY A BORDERLINE OR NARCISSIST? 2: WHY THE BORDERLINE/NARCISSIST NEEDS A CARETAKER 3: LEARNING TO BE A CARETAKER 4: CARETAKING INVOLVEMENT LEVELS 5: EMOTIONAL DISTORTIONS OF CARETAKERS 6: THOUGHT DISTORTIONS OF CARETAKERS 7: BEHAVIORAL DISTORTIONS OF CARETAKERS 8: DISTORTIONS IN THE SENSE OF SELF 9: RELATIONSHIP DISTORTIONS OF CARETAKERS PART II: LETTING GO OF CARETAKING INTRODUCTION: HOW DO I MAKE CHANGES? 10: STAGES OF HEALING 11: CHALLENGING THE BP/NP FAMILY RULES 12: BEGINNING TO HEAL: EMBRACING NEW BELIEFS AND BEHAVIORS 13: INCREASING YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE 14: NURTURING AND CARING FOR YOURSELF 15: ANXIETY REDUCING SKILLS WITH THE BP/NP 16: CHANGE CREATING SKILLS WITH THE BP/NP 17: LEAVING OR STAYING PART III - REBUILDING INTRODUCTION: HOW DOES IT LOOK TO NOT BE A CARETAKER? 18: MOVING FORWARD IN A HEALTHY WAY 19: REACHING OUT TO OTHERS 20: THE NEW YOU APPENDIX I: CARETAKER TEST BIBLIOGRAPHY