At one of the BPD websites I visited, a therapist reports that -- after having treated many couples in BPD relationships -- he found that the relationships typically last either 18 months or 15 years. They last only 18 months, he says, when the non-BPD has strong personal boundaries. After the 6-month honeymoon period ends and the rages start, these healthy individuals will not put up with the abuse and drama for more than a year. They decide that the great make-up sex and adoration periods are simply not worth it.So what should i do, be her friend and support her hoping she will seek help or change, or should i cut myself off completely and give up?
It would not be surprising if she has both because approximately a third of BPDs also suffer from bipolar disorder. There are several differences between the two disorders. Bipolar mood swings are very slow because they are caused by gradual changes in body chemistry. They are considered rapid if as many as four occur in a year. In sharp contrast, four BPD mood changes can easily occur in four days. BPD rages, for example, typically last about 5 hours and rarely longer than 36 hours (if the BPD sufferer is inner-directed, you will not witness a raging screaming person but, instead, a quiet withdrawn person who turns her anger onto herself).she may have Borderline Personality Disorder or Bi-polar or both.
Learning about BPD and what you should do to protect yourself is the easy part. If you are like me, you will have accomplished that in a few weeks of reading. What is much harder is internalizing that information so you are convinced at a gut level, i.e., you feel deeply that it is correct. That process took me two years to complete because, until I believed it at my core, I was unwilling to walk away based on some "logical theory" that I should do so.I'm afraid of doing anything that would hurt my future chances.
I want to be supportive, but im adult enough to realize i cant fix her. This must be something she does on her own. And i think she does know something isnt right but i dont know if shes strong enough to take the steps to fix it. I just want to give her the info i have found that seems to match her behavior. Im not going to push her to get help because i dont think pushing will help. I just want to "plant a seed" so that she may want to seek help at sometime.It is okay that we caretakers want to help people. What is not okay is that we are willing to do so even when it is to our great detriment.
I dont know if she trusted me or not. She always accused me of not trusting her but never said she didnt trust me. And i did trust her, although i was hesitant to trust her with money matters because she wasnt always prompt in paying bills. But i never suspected her of cheating. She had very good morals which was one attraction to her when i met her. Surprising because she grew up with a drug abusing dad who would gamble all the familys money away at times. The mom supported the family because the dad didnt keep a job long. So that maybe where the problems stem from.Finally, a fourth difference is that a bipolar sufferer -- whether depressed or manic -- usually is able to trust you if she knows you well. BPDs, however, are unable to trust -- even though they sometimes may claim otherwise.
None of us at this forum can tell you whether her BPD traits are sufficiently severe to warrant a clinical diagnosis of BPD. What we try to do is to help you understand the nine BPD traits so you are better able to see a strong pattern of them when they occur. We also share with you our experiences so you have a clearer idea of how BPD relationships typically play out.I still cant tell by your explanation which she is BPD or Bipolar. She could go from nice to irritable very quickly. And at times she was mean. However i also saw trends where she changed over months.
Absolutely. I do not recall the statistics but I believe that most BPDs do not do cutting or feel dangerously suicidal (but sometimes will threaten it as a way of controlling you). My understanding is that cutting is typically done by BPDs who are acting-in, not acting-out. I am hopeful that BPDs will weigh in on this and correct me if I am wrong. As to those with bipolar disorder, they likely will not feel suicidal if they have bipolar only at a mild level. Moreover, cutting is not a common characteristic of bipolar.Can someone with BPD or Bipolar not be suicidal or cut themselves? There was never any of that.
Of course. If your wife has strong BPD traits, her problem is not being bad but, rather, being sick -- she is unable to regulate her emotions as well as most adults can do.There is a lot of good in her also.
Yes, she deserves to be loved like anyone else does. Yet, even though she craves such intimacy like we all do, she is extremely fearful when she gets it, as I explained above. Yes, I know -- craving what you most fear is difficult to comprehend. In another forum, a BPD who experiences this paradox every week offers this explanation: "When a BPD talks about intimacy, it's like a vampire talking about sunrise: every one of them wants to see one, but they are frightened to because it means death if they do."I guess I'm willing to stand by her if she will get help. I mean BPD people deserve someone who cares about them too.
If you leave her after she has refused to seek good treatment and stick with it, you are not "throwing her away." Your notion that you would be somehow abandoning her is the result of the tremendous guilt that nonBPDs like us experience when living in a BPD-type relationship. I was far worse about it than you, as is evident in my hanging on for 15 years until my wife left me.They don't deserve to be thrown away. And if I don't stand by her who will?
That is exactly what I would do too. Note, however, that it goes against the conventional wisdom at websites targeted to nonBPDs like us. They recommend setting up an appointment with a therapist trained in treating BPD, ideally with DBT therapy. They believe it is better for the therapist to tell her because there is so little chance that she will believe you. Instead, she likely will project it back onto you, believing that you are the one that has strong BPD traits.And i think she does know something isn't right but i don't know if she's strong enough to take the steps to fix it. I just want to give her the info i have found that seems to match her behavior.
She had a big problem with me hanging out with family members, especially my mother. She would say "your mom is jealous of me taking you away from her" I didnt see that at all. She didnt get along with much of my family at all.Accused them of not liking her. I just dont think them knew how to take her. My wife once ask my mom if she was afraid of hurting her feelings and my mom answered truthfully that yes she was. My familys lack of closeness with her was always held against me, even though there was nothing i could do.And it explains why they are jealous of anyone the spouse chooses to spend time with, i.e., they cannot trust him to remain faithful to them or trust that he really loves them when he wishes to spend some time with his own family members instead of them.
Thinking back i dont know if she trusted me or not. I neer got the feeling that she totally distrusted me. Although she did have some minor issues with a couple girls that i had known before her, but she never accused me of cheating. And i didnt een look at other girls beacause i was so in love with her. I will say she made a big deal about whether i trusted her after she left. Couldnt figure out why. She still had a key to the house which she didnt give back after moving out and she would want to come over and get something when i wasnt there,and when i offered to drop it by her work place she thought i didnt trust her. Wanted to know if i trusted her, and when i said i did she seemed relieved.That said, what you have written about her does sound like the behavior of a high-functioning woman with strong BPD traits -- with one big exception. The exception is your statement that "I don't know whether she trusted me or not." If it is true that she really trusts you, she cannot have strong BPD traits because BPDs are incapable of doing that.
So should i not bring it up then? If i thought she was suicidal i wouldnt for fear of trigering something,but she doesnt seem to be. Am i doing harm if i breach the subject? She once said she liked it that i didnt give in to everything and stood up to her sometimes. But i have let her blame me when she left for fear of losing her. I would get upset and beg her to work it out, to no avail. Me getting upset seem to make things worse, she couldnt handle it. So i wonder if i tell her im not taking all the blame any more, and bring up what i have learned, and acting stronger if that would be a better approach. I didnt find out about most of this until after she left. I knew something wasnt right, but didnt know what. The only thing i ever pointed out was that she was depressed and when she left she said "im not depressed because im happy over here with my friends" I dont believe that to totally be true because shes told me shes having trouble eating among other things. I wondered if i should talk to her parents, they like me alot and think very highly of me. I just dont know what to do.Note, however, that it goes against the conventional wisdom at websites targeted to nonBPDs like us. They recommend setting up an appointment with a therapist trained in treating BPD, ideally with DBT therapy. They believe it is better for the therapist to tell her because there is so little chance that she will believe you. Instead, she likely will project it back onto you, believing that you are the one that has strong BPD traits.
Heartbroken, you must start thinking with your head instead of your heart so you can make some judgement calls. Do you believe that your mother is jealous of her? If not, what you are seeing is your wife's projection of her own jealousy onto your mother. That is typical BPD behavior. It is not done to be malicious. Instead, it is done because it is too painful for the BPD to recognize that she has a flaw like jealousy.She would say "your mom is jealous of me taking you away from her" I didnt see that at all. She didnt get along with much of my family at all. Accused them of not liking her.
You never got the feeling because you don't recognize distrust when you see it. You seem to have the mistaken impression that, if she doesn't accuse you of cheating, she trusts you. If a BPD feels she has you wrapped around her little finger, she may not worry about you cheating on her. That does not mean she trusts you in other regard, however. On the contrary, I gave you five examples (from your own posts) of her not trusting you.I never got the feeling that she totally distrusted me. Although she did have some minor issues with a couple girls that i had known before her, but she never accused me of cheating.
If you still don't know, you are not thinking back. Nor are you thinking forward or sideways. You are not thinking at all. Love will do that to a man.Thinking back, i don't know if she trusted me or not.
When you asked me that same question earlier, I replied "that is exactly what I would do too." I still feel the same way.So should i not bring it up then (about her having BPD traits)? ... Am i doing harm if i breach the subject?
Lady, you have the intelligence, courage, and fortitude to be fighting an illness that was entrenched in early childhood and is extremely difficult to rise above. I doubt that as many as 1 in 100 BPD sufferers ever make it to your level of self awareness, much less make it to a forum where they talk about it openly, honestly, and articulately. That is something to be proud of, not ashamed of."...even if I get help I can't go back to my marriage. There will always be this shame I will have. This embarrassment and fear that all my fake defenses would come crashing down again.
Truebesos, do you feel that Heartbroken should stand by his wife's side, no matter how abusive she chooses to be towards him? I can't imagine that you really mean that. I believe, instead, that you are assuming certain minimal conditions are met. How, then, would you qualify your statement?If you really love her I think standing by her is the best thing to do. You might feel like that is enabling her but on the other hand, maybe it's the guidance she has never had.
Not wanting it 100% is not a problem. My understanding is that it is perfectly normal to not want things 100%. Normal stable people have conflicted feelings about virtually everything. The problem caused by your disorder is not having mixed feelings -- that is a healthy thing -- but, rather, having less ability to be in touch with all conflicting feelings at the same time. Instead, you tend to be in touch with only one set of feelings which, as you know, is the splitting you talk about.Does that mean I don't 100% want my marriage to work?
I would like to add some possible insight from a BPD. My husband just announced that he wants a separation because he can't handle me anymore. I currently have mixed feelings about the situation but I have recognized that I am splitting. I keep justifying that an end to my marriage with the devil is a good thing! But as I write this I snicker because I realize that he isn't the devil. I then rationalize that I deserve the very best and this could be a great new start or it could be the end of the best thing I am ever going to have...
So the record is still spinning over and over in my head and depending on the moment, I can act like nothing is wrong or break down in tears. Your estranged wife is doing the same thing. One day or minute she fixates on the good things you guys had together and she reaches out to you. Before you realize it she then switches to bad memories and cautions herself from being around you. It is a BPD's survival tactic. If she can control the distance between you then she feels more in control of her emotions.
Now how will this play out in your marriage? it wholly depends on your wife. I am somewhat versed in the diagnosis of BPD and I would say I am high functioning and I don't even know if I have what it takes to pull through this. The way I see it, and your wife might also, is that even if I get help I can't go back to my marriage. There will always be this shame I will have. This embarassment and fear that all my fake defenses would come crashing down again. Does that mean I don't 100% want my marriage to work? I envision it in my head, us getting old together and really enjoying life ya know!? Then a dark cloud comes over me and all I can do is cry because it feels so far away. Best of luck on your decision and if you really love her I think standing by her is the best thing to do. You might feel like that is enabling her but on the other hand, maybe it's the guidance she has never had.
Thats one statement i cant argue with. When she says "we have nothing in common" or "you dont like anything about me" i can strongly dispute those statements and back them up with facts. But when she says "Im not in love with you" thats hard to dispute, or say whether she is or isnt. The "im not in love" is the same reason she left her first marriage. She accused him of cheating but found out later he wasnt.I find it hard to believe she really loves him (beyond sporadic periods of infatuation) and hard to believe he is doing more good than harm by staying.
I understand what your saying. But she'll just move on to someone else who will do the same thing (unavoidably). Am i wrong to think its better for me to stick around because i do now know whats going on, instead of her moving onto someone else who might never figure it out, and will drop her? Now if she steadfastly refuses to acknowledge anythings wrong or seek help even after i talk to her about BPD then that might be different. But it seems like i should be patient for a little while to see how she reacts after i talk to her. I see and understand both sides of the coin though. That makes it that much tougher to know what to do.by remaining in the marriage, we Nons exacerbate the mood changes by frequently (and unavoidably) providing the triggers for fears of abandonment and intimacy.
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