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Losing my wife to possible BPD what to do?

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Losing my wife to possible BPD what to do?

Postby heartbroken77 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:28 am

I am losing my wife, and i have come to think that she may have Borderline Personality Disorder or Bi-polar or both. I was hoping maybe for some advice as to whether being supportive and paitent and waiting a while was a good idea. Heres the situation.
My wife and i met almost 7 years ago and immediately fell in love. I drove 2 1/2 hours every weekend to go see her for a year and a half. I finally bought a house and she moved up with me. The relationship was unbelieveably great in the begining, but i started noticing things further into it. I started to have a feeling that i could never make her happy, and i really tried. She was very clingy, and overly sensative. Also for a period of time she had anger issues, although that moderated later in the relationship, or else she held it in more. She was irritable alot. I loved her and took the good with the bad and just thought they were personality traits. MInd you even with all this i enjoyed being with her and it wasnt always bad. We had an unbelievable amount of things in common from music to tastes in vintage furniture, to old movies to food we liked to foods we disliked ect. Three and a half years in we went thru a peroid where she became cruelly cold to me and would take to me or acknowledge affection, or even talk about what was going on with her. She even slept in a different bed. This went on for two months or so and she came back around to being herself again. The only excuse she ever gave me was "you havent given me a ring" so the following christmas i proposed, and the following spring we flew to Vegas and got married. Things were great for 6 months and started to go downhill somewhat after that. I could see that conpliments i gave her just sort of bounced off and didnt register. We stumbled along until about three months ago when the cycle of being cold and not talking started again. She notified me that the marriage was over, and i tried everything to save it but to no avail. She wouldnt go to counseling, refused to believe she was depressed and blamed everything on me. And for a while i did too, even though i had done everything i knew how to make her happy. So she moved out, and right after moving out she started being somewhat friendly with me again. She texted me almost daily and sent me pics of herself in her halloween costume. Even hinted she wanted me to ask her to do something for halloween.I was really confused. So after doing alot of research things are falling into place as to what has happened. When she left she made comments like "you dont like anythying about me" (so far from the truth) and "we dont have anything in common" (very not true) And she stated this wasnt the path she wanted to go down. When i asked what path she wanted she said"i dont know" So now shes friendly and we even went to a movie last weekend which was very hard for me to do. So my question is this. I want to gently breach the subject of what i fear is going on, and hope that she realizes she needs to seek help. Im not going to pressure her to work on the marriage, im just going to tell her im worried about her and that i care. I dont mind waiting for a while as i an still deeply in love and not looking to replace her. I think at times she knows something isnt quite right, as she self diagnoised herselve an "overly sensitive person" and she confided in a girlfriend that she had anger issues. This same girlfriend has confided in me that she thinks my wife has BPD. 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? Im afraid of doing anything that would hurt my future chances.
Anybody?
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Re: Losing my wife to possible BPD what to do?

Postby DowntownDC » Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:03 am

Heartbroken, welcome to the BPD forum. I am so sorry you find yourself in this horrible situation. As a nonBPD who held on for 15 years, I will try to give you an idea of what lies ahead so you are better prepared to decide what to do.
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?
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.

The remaining non-BPDs, he says, tend to hang on for 15 years because they do not have strong personal boundaries and thus are willing to sacrifice themselves in a doomed effort to save their sick spouse. Even after 15 years, he says, they do not abandon the loved ones. Rather, the sick spouses abandon them. At that point, the marriage is in a shambles, causing the BPDs' fear of abandonment to grow so severe that she/he terminates the marriage to end the pain. Moreover, each year the BPD becomes increasingly resentful that the non-BPD is unable to make her happy and eliminate her pain.

During that 15-year period, at best you will accomplish little more than being a soothing object (Uqli's term) that helps manage some of her mood swings. At worse, you will be an enabler who makes it easier for her to avoid confronting her illness and seeking treatment. Of course, you already know you cannot fix her. She can only do that herself and it will require a lot of painful work in a therapy program like DBT for many years.

In light of that, the general consensus of the nonBPDs on this forum (as well as that of many BPDs here like Alphabet) is that -- if there are no children involved -- you will be far better off leaving this toxic relationship unless your wife (a) is self aware enough to know she has BPD, (b) willingly starts a therapy program like DBT that is targeted to BPD, and (c) does not play games in therapy but, instead, shows she is strongly committed to working hard for many years.

Sadly, it is very unlikely that all three of those conditions will be met. The disorder makes the sufferer hate herself, so the last thing she wants is to add one more flaw or defect to the long list of things she hates about herself. That is why she won't admit to mistakes and, instead, blames everything on you.

On this issue, therapist Shari Schreiber states that "Borderlines can make tangible progress with solid therapeutic help, but you may have a better shot at flying to the moon strapped to a banana, than keeping them in treatment long enough, to accomplish any real growth or healing. Don't forget--they're terrified of attaching, and relying on anyone for their care. They'll act-out by devaluing the therapist, acting belligerent or picking fights, being non-compliant and/or seductive, missing appointments, rescheduling at the last minute, or lying in effort to control the therapeutic relationship."

There nonetheless is a very small chance that your wife is in so much pain that she is desperate to find the reason and, thus, will accomplish the three conditions above. I have seen no statistics on it but I would be surprised if any more than 1 in 100 BPDs are able to do that. In any event, you will meet many of this elite group on this forum. This forum therefore presents you with a unique opportunity to communicate not only with Nons like me but also with BPDs who are self aware and working hard to get well.
she may have Borderline Personality Disorder or Bi-polar or both.
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).

A second difference is that the onset is very different. Whereas a bipolar change may occur over several weeks, a BPD change typically occurs in less than a minute -- often in only 15 seconds -- because it is event-triggered by some innocent comment or action.

A third difference is that, whereas bipolar can cause people to be irritable and obnoxious during the manic phase, it does not rise to the level of meanness you see when a BPD is splitting you black. The difference is huge: while a manic person may regard you as an irritation, a BPD person can perceive you as Hitler and will treat you accordingly.

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. This lack of trust means there is no foundation on which to build a relationship. Moreover -- and I learned this the hard way -- when a person does not trust you, you can never trust them because they can turn on you at any time -- and almost certainly will.

Yet, despite these four clear differences between the two disorders, many people confuse the two. The primary source of this confusion, as I note above, seems to be the fact that about a third of BPD sufferers also have the bipolar disorder.
I'm afraid of doing anything that would hurt my future chances.
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.

It therefore is important that you take a hard look at why you are still thinking about going back to her after all the verbal abuse she has given you. If you are a care-taking guy like I am, you are a sitting duck for BPD relationships. Until you understand yourself, the danger is that, even if you do divorce your wife, you will find another woman just like her. The problem is not that they seek you out. Rather, you are drawn to them, wanting to be the knight on the white horse -- charging in to save a vulnerable woman from her problems.

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. If you are like this, it means you have some strong codependent aspects to your personality. It also means that your desire to be needed (for what you can do) far exceeds your desire to be loved (for what you already are). For a detailed explanation of that, you may want to take a look at gettinbetter.com/anycost.html.
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Re: Losing my wife to possible BPD what to do?

Postby heartbroken77 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:51 pm

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 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.
Our marriage wasnt all bad. And i accepted her flaws, because whos perfect? There is alot of good in her also. She did have a peroid of several months where she had rage but that seemed to go away. Im assuming it was turned inward at that point. The biggest problem and let down for me was that she never seemed happy and its a terrible thing to think your not making someone happy. I realize that it wasnt my fault as i did what i could to make her happy. But it was depressing at the times.
Can someone with BPD or Bipolar not be suicidal or cut themselves? There was never any of that. And no drug abuse, although she seemed to depend on cigarrettes just to deal with life. And she didnt have wild spending sprees, although she seemed incapible of planning ahead finnacially. She would go thru very creative periods and then they would disappear and i couldnt get her to do a whole lot. She would tell me that i never spent time with her, but i would go anywhere she wanted even shoe shopping. I never turned down a chance to go or do something with her. But she got where she would become very unmotivated, so i would do things by myself.
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.
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.
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.
I guess im willing to stand by her if she will get help. I mean BPD people deserve someone who cares about them too. They dont deserve to be thrown away. And i dont stand by her who will? The next guy might be abusive to her. I guess i wonder if she gets help will she realize she gave up someone who tried to treat her well and who loved her. Or will it be too late then?
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Re: Losing my wife to possible BPD what to do?

Postby DowntownDC » Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:22 am

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.
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.

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. Given that trust is the foundation of a good relationship, the lack of trust largely explains why BPDs have so much trouble establishing a lasting healthy relationship.

It also explains why they are fearful of being abandoned, i.e., they cannot trust the spouse to stay around when he finds out more about them. 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. So you are barking up the wrong tree (i.e., BPD) if you actually see no evidence that she does not trust you. I hope that is the case because bipolar disorder is far easier to treat than BPD.

While that is my hope, my suspicion is that the evidence is all around you and you are blind to it -- as we nonBPDs tend to be in matters of the heart. You mention, for example, that "she always accused me of not trusting her." Her inability to believe you when you repeatedly explain how you do trust her implies that she does not trust you. Nor did she trust your sincerity when you gave her compliments that, as you say, "just sort of bounced off and didn't register."

Moreover, she did not trust you when she "blamed everything on me" and did not believe your explanations to the contrary. Finally, a lack of trust also is evident in her statements, "you don't like anything about me" (so far from the truth) and "we don't have anything in common" (very not true).
Can someone with BPD or Bipolar not be suicidal or cut themselves? There was never any of that.
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.
There is a lot of good in her also.
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.
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.
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."

This is why, if your wife actually suffers from BPD, you cannot love her enough to help her overcome that disorder. Trying to help her by loving her is like trying to help a burn patient by hugging her. Moreover, if you try to back off to a safe distance, you will find there is no safe distance. That is, you will bounce from hurting her with intimacy to hurting her with an abandonment threat, as I explained earlier. Hence, if the BPD traits are strong, the two of you are caught in a toxic relationship that is a lose-lose situation for you both. Moreover, the losses are likely to be much greater if you two should ever have children to raise. Hence, it is essential that she seek treatment and actively participate in it.
They don't deserve to be thrown away. And if I don't stand by her who will?
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.

In hindsight, I should have realized that, by leaving her years earlier, I could have given her an incentive -- her only incentive -- to take therapy seriously instead of playing games with the therapists and wasting my money. That is, I was an enabler who made it easier for her to remain sick. And because I have value as a human being, my happiness is worth something too. No doubt I would have been happier living all those years with a stable woman who loved me for who I am, not for what I could do for her.
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.
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.

Perhaps that "conventional" approach works well if you are able to find an excellent therapist who has treated many BPDs. It did not work for me, however. I spent over $200,000 on six different therapists over a 15-year period and I never once heard the term "BPD." Instead, they danced all around it with terms like "PTSD" and "thought disorder." The therapist that my ex saw weekly for five years refused to give it any name at all. She claimed she "did not believe in using labels." The problem, as best as I can tell, is that insurance companies typically refuse to cover BPD treatments because it takes so many years to effectively treat this disorder.
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Re: Losing my wife to possible BPD what to do?

Postby heartbroken77 » Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:54 am

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today has been such a hard day.
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Re: Losing my wife to possible BPD what to do?

Postby DowntownDC » Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:49 am

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.
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.

Do you believe that, when she first met your family, it was your family that did not like her instead of vice-versa? If not, what you are seeing is your wife's projection of her dislike of herself onto your family members. It is less painful for BPDs when they externalize such thoughts. That is, a BPD will get some temporary relief from the pain of hating herself if she can convince herself that it is the other people who are hating her.
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.
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.

Do you really believe that YOU are the one who distrusts her? If not, it is your wife who is the one that is distrusting. She is projecting it onto you to avoid having to admit that she is the distrusting person in your marriage. Please open your eyes to this projection. It is not rocket science. Instead, it's something we all learn to do by the time we are three years old. Don't you remember saying "it's Sis's fault" or "that dog doesn't like me"? Because BPDs have an emotional development that was frozen at a young age by invalidation, projection is one of the few defense tools they rely on most frequently.

Knowing that, you can use a BPD's projections to somewhat read her mind. For example, when your wife accuses someone of doing or feeling something they did not do or feel (e.g., you being responsible for your family not liking her), it is a safe bet that she feels responsible for it and has decided to dump that responsibility on the other person. Hence, when my exW would accuse me of spending too much on myself, I knew immediately that she had been on another spending spree and wanted to dump her guilt onto me.
Thinking back, i don't know if she trusted me or not.
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.
So should i not bring it up then (about her having BPD traits)? ... Am i doing harm if i breach the subject?
When you asked me that same question earlier, I replied "that is exactly what I would do too." I still feel the same way.
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Re: Losing my wife to possible BPD what to do?

Postby Truebesos » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:14 am

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.
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Re: Losing my wife to possible BPD what to do?

Postby DowntownDC » Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:07 pm

Truebesos, welcome to the BPD forum. I am so sorry you are having to go through a separation, which is painful enough even if it does not lead to a divorce. Thanks so much for sharing with us the conflicting emotions you are experiencing. Thanks, especially, for the notion that, if you have limited ability to regulate the emotions sweeping over you, one can try to compensate by regulating the "emotional distance" one is from one's spouse. I am hopeful that you will keep coming back to us, particularly during this hurtful period of separating from your husband.
"...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.
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.

As to your "fake" defenses, they served you exceedingly well during childhood, enabling you to survive something that others did not survive. It was because you had to rely so heavily on those defenses for survival that you were afraid to replace them with the more sophisticated defenses available to you as an adult. Those more mature defenses are now available to you as you learn to better regulate your emotions. Hence, the feeling of shame -- as intense as it is -- is only coming from the hurt little girl inside you who still does not recognize all the accomplishments she has to be proud of.
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.
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?

Would you qualify it with the condition, for example, that the wife be at least willing to acknowledge she has BPD, as you have done here? Would you also qualify it with the condition that she is already taking steps to deal with the disorder by learning about it, as you did when coming to a forum dedicated to it? Would you further qualify it with the condition that she be strongly committed to working on healing herself in a therapy program, as you yourself may be willing to do?

As to his staying in the marriage to provide guidance, my understanding is that the only guidance that will help her deal with this illness must come from a trained therapist, preferably one trained in DBT. Perhaps the "guidance" you are referring to, then, is not guidance on overcoming the illness but, rather, assistance in dampening the emotional changes so they are not quite so extreme.

If so, Uqli likely would agree with you on that. If I remember correctly, he believes that we nonBPDs can help a little by becoming "soothing objects." I would like to believe that also, mainly because I spent 15 years trying to do it. I hesitate in believe it because I suspect that, by remaining in the marriage, we Nons exacerbate the mood changes by frequently (and unavoidably) providing the triggers for fears of abandonment and intimacy.

Moreover, we enable the BPD spouse to avoid confronting the need for therapy (e.g., if Heartbroken's wife would seek therapy without him insisting on it, she would have already done so). Hence, if the wife is not willing to work hard to heal herself and her marriage, 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. That is my understanding, including my unsupported "suspicions." What do you think Truebosos? And what do you think Heartbroken? Anybody else?
Does that mean I don't 100% want my marriage to work?
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.
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Re: Losing my wife to possible BPD what to do?

Postby heartbroken77 » Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:57 pm

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.


Thanks so much for your reply. I really wanted to hear from someone on the other side. Im not sure it make my decision any easier, but it does provide some insight as to whats going on with her. Do you have any suggestions about breaching the subject of BPD with her? The difference is that she has left me, and i dont even know if she'll make an attempt to come back. Or if i should try to make any attempts to win her back. If i dont i will confirm her feelings that i really dont love her, and if i do im setting myself up for alot of rejection. I admire your willingness to talk about it, and i hope for the best for you and your husband.
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Re: Losing my wife to possible BPD what to do?

Postby heartbroken77 » Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:16 pm

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.
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.
by remaining in the marriage, we Nons exacerbate the mood changes by frequently (and unavoidably) providing the triggers for fears of abandonment and intimacy.
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.
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