I have spoken about personality disorders for what feels like my entire. Growing up with a parent with one was a traumatic experience and ultimately, though, estranged, I have forgiven.
Disclaimer: These are MY personal experiences that doesn’t mean that all people with personality disorders are this severe. The Single White Female Syndrome and Fatal Attractions, yes, it’s real and it happens more often than you might think. “Single White Female Disorder is a growing cause of concern in our hyper mediated world” said Thinking Storm.
It is often times stigmatized in the movies because people crave sensationalism. This is hurtful to patients because just as with Lupus, no two cases are alike. There is no cure for personality disorders.
So what is Mirroring?
Mirroring – Imitating or copying another person’s characteristics, behaviors or traits.
Borrowing a Self-Image
Mirroring occurs when people with Personality Disorders have a vacant or distorted self-image, which can manifest itself as an imitation of another person’s speech, mannerisms, behaviors, dress style, purchase preferences or daily habits.
In more extreme manifestations of this behavior, the person doing the mirroring might begin to believe they actually are the other person, to the extent they might call themselves by their name, claim to be them or ‘borrow’ elements of the other person’s life such as relationships, past experiences, career or family history and claim these as their own.
Mirroring can be a form of Dissociation, where a person’s strong feelings create “facts” which are less than true.
A dramatic case of mirroring is portrayed in the movie Single White Female, in which the character Hedra Carlson (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) begins to imitate her new room-mate Allie in the way she looks, dresses and behaves, imitating her haircut, wearing her clothes and ultimately seducing Allie’s boyfriend.
What it Looks Like
1. A man switches accents to mimic a colleague.
2. A woman wears identical clothing to her friend.
3. A mother wears her daughter’s clothing.
4. A teenager makes phone calls in which she pretends to be her sibling or parent.
5. A secretary wears her boss’s wife’s perfume in an attempt to seduce him.
6. A man writes letters in which he forges his boss’s signature.
7. A woman mirrors attributes of her exe’s new partner
How it Feels
There is an old saying that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, and a little mirroring can sometimes be taken as a compliment at first. You may feel honored or flattered when someone begins to mimic your fashion sense, your behaviors or traits.
However, when this becomes pervasive, it can start to feel a bit “creepy”. It can become quite unsettling to realize someone is paying so much attention to you, yet isn’t behaving in the normal or healthy ways which are part of a reciprocal relationship. If they begin to see you as a representation themselves you may find yourself in a situation of Engulfment, and be under extreme pressure to stay in the relationship.
If that person begins to pretend they are you, it can become downright frightening. You may fear other people will mistake them for you, that they will behave in ways which will embarrass you, get you into trouble, or make you unpopular. Resource: Outofthefog.com
1. I met a guy while working at a restaurant. He was funny, smart, creative and generous. He gave me a ride home before I had a license. The relationship was magical and I connected deeply with him. Honestly still till this day, I question if it was even real in the beginning. One day, I drove to his house and never left. We just started living together and woman he dealt with in the past showed up and asked if she could come in the gate and he said no. She saw me and stared into my eyes, a vacant cold look for what felt like eternity. She left and I had to go back to the valley and by this time, I got my car. At the time, I was in the valley away from him. I called him and heard talking in the background and I asked who it was, he said ‘its Jane Doe’. I said “her again?” I told him it was over because I wasn’t going to accept cheating. The immaturity inside of my teenage mindset and the insecurities from being cheated on by my first boyfriend who lived 3000 miles away cheated with his cousin. I didn’t hear him out, had I known then I would have understood she sat outside his house and wouldn’t leave. She thought that she was the best he could do. When she saw me that definitely fractured her ego. She fiercely went after him and when he back away, she killed him.
2. My second experience was with an “in law” and coming from a broken home I definitely wanted a family, which is why having a kid is important to me. She had an eating disorder. I was often times suffering from water retention and inflammation due to Lupus. I could barely walk and spent most of my time in bed. She would constantly ask if I wanted to work out with her or to try on her clothes which she knew I couldn’t fit. It morphed into the typical narcissistic mother – black sheep/scapegoat daughter relationship. Me, providing constant acts of love. For example, moving her out of her apartment 3 times in a flare after an infusion. Giving her just because cards and letters of encouragement. It was never enough. I told my partner at the time and he unintentionally gaslighted me. This was for many reasons, first and foremost to the outside world, it looks like nothing because they know nothing. They don’t know what it means and what to look for. She starts wearing her hair like mine, using my vernacular, and constant competition for my partners attention like making jokes about his gentiles, her brother. It became unbearable and we left. After some time had passed we decided to celebrate my partner’s birthday there. It came to a head on my partner’s birthday. She had made a comment about me always laying down because she felt that was isolating because of bed rest, that bothered her. I decided to push myself to the store anyway. When we reach the store, as we were finding parking her kid calls me fat and I call to her to correct him. She refused to and went in the store. My partner tried to correct his family member but the child wasn’t interested. Trying not to cry, we drive home and she starts singing, I turn the radio up as signal for her just keep it down but then she starts singing loudly. I kick her out of the car and we haven’t spoken to her since. I never will. No contact.
3. The forepaw of warning a woman about a man whose dangerous. You’re never supposed to do this because it only pushes them closer and inflated her ego for all the wrong reasons. I thought this girl knew who he really was, with me at least. She seemed receptive of it at first and I prayed for her. I kinda lingered around in case she has more questions. Then I started noticing she was sub-gramming because she was a narcissist no matter how concrete the warning, women never listen. Especially, if she was threatened by you but that’s normal and that’s why I should not have reached out. Even though she admitted that be stole from her, she wanted to get into just because she was jealous of me. She started sub-posting and would wear the same dresses as me. Retweet my relative who has passed. We got into a few times but after awhile we both moved on but not before she changed career to mine and attempted to become a painter.
4. I met this incredible man who was the love of my life. When I was with him I was happy and he was happy too. We just clicked so to speak and it wasn’t hard. Unfortunately, some of his exes have BPD. Ex0 went overboard and fast to a publication and lied about her IQ. She mirrored my behavior and language. I would say something and she would use the same term and most of the time in the same day. She obsessed to the extent of even oddly buying spaces in a publication and appeared almost religious but it didn’t help her business. She needed that to make her feel good. She started obsessively wearing blazers. If I tweeted about lizards she would come online as if I summons her. Here’s the thing, that makes this disorder interesting it has nothing to about love or even sex. It’s all in this individuals psyche. They become so obsessed they don’t realize they’re doing. It wasn’t a war for his heart but for HER ego. If he wanted you and then you would have chose you but he didn’t. However, it wasn’t about him because all she cares for is herself. Ex00 a user in drugs, people and malicious manipulation. Her objective to maintain her position by association. She didn’t want the benefits to stop so she attempted to drive me away.
She wanted me gone because she was jealous but she also knew I loved him and she would have been kicked out. I said she partied too much and if you go into her pictures she’s tag in you’ll find early 2017 she stopped. I told her she had no new pictures, so she ran to his events to get some. Now full disclosure, it was 100% the guys fault in. He should have stopped her. He didn’t and for two years she trolled as did EX0, all while both of them were trying to be me. The guy is a changed man.
These experiences changed me and it’s important, so very important to discuss this and spread awareness. These cases do happen but to reiterate, this by no means is intended to generalize people with BPD. This is MY story.
The only way to heal is to cut them off completely. Especially, when they get to the point that these did. Any mental health specialists will tell you NO CONTACT is essential!!! !!! If you care about yourself and those around you.
Here’s an excerpt from a survivor of BPD: Mirroring
“Things were tumultuous for the next year when we were living together,” says Laura, “there was always just some kind of drama, and it seemed like Sharon was always at the centre of it.” “Slowly, my other friends started slipping away, one by one.” Then one day, a mutual friend who knew both Laura, Sharon and Laura’s husband asked if he could take Laura for a coffee to tell her something important. He had some information he felt like she needed to know. “He had been the best man at our wedding, and when he took me out he said ‘I want you to know that [Sharon and your husband] were having an affair,” Laura recalls. “For some reason, I told him that I already knew – I think I just didn’t want to process any of the information right at that minute.” In a daze, Laura made her way home. When she got there, she discovered Sharon had tried to kill herself. “She’d figured out what the coffee date was going to be about, and she had completely freaked out,” Laura explains. “I brought her into the hospital, and that’s when she ended up getting checked into the psych ward. It all came out.” Sharon explained to Laura that she had become obsessed with her, and with the life she had. “She said she wanted to have everything that I had, and that if she couldn’t have it, she wanted to take everything away from me so that we could be the same,” she recalls, chillingly.
Sharon was eventually diagnosed with BPD. Shortly afterwards, Laura discovered her friend had made two attempts to kill her – that she knew of. “I spoke to my ex-husband about the whole situation,” Laura says, “which is when he confessed to me that he suspected Sharon had tried to kill me twice while we’d all been living together.” Laura says that on one occasion the brake line in her car was cut, with no explanation of how this could have happened. Another time, she was rushed to hospital after suffering anaphylactic shock. Later, her husband found a bottle of antibiotics in the garbage – Laura was allergic to Penicillin, something Sharon knew. These suspicions were confirmed when Sharon confessed while in the psychiatric ward. Resources: Whimn.com