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Confusing signals from borderline ex after suicide attempt

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Confusing signals from borderline ex after suicide attempt

Postby spotter036 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:49 pm

I tried to post this once, but there was an error and it didn't go through.

First of all, I want to say that I wouldn't necessarily pigeonhole someone's behavior just because they've been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. There's a real human beneath the diagnosis, and I feel that it's disrespectful and shortsighted to interpret all the person's behavior through that lens. Basically, I'm trying not to assume the worst about this person.

Anyway, for four years, I was in a pretty unhealthy on-again, off-again relationship with a girl who's been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. We started out as great friends who got along like siblings (though it sounds creepy to put it that way) but we also had tremendous physical chemistry and ended up in short-lived passionate, volatile relationships. The foundation of our relationship was genuine friendship, so we were always a fixture of each other's lives even when we weren't together romantically. We did still sleep together fairly regularly when we weren't dating, though I somehow justified it because she was always the one who initiated. I'm not usually the type to feel ok with being intimate with someone I'm not romantically involved with, much less an ex who needs to move on.

After our last breakup, we went back to being friends again, but about a year ago she randomly ghosted me. She wouldn't reply to calls, emails, or texts, and there was no obvious catalyst for the sudden change. It came out of nowhere. I figured that she must have found someone else and didn't feel that she "needed" me anymore, so I wrote her off as a user and moved on.

After a year without hearing from her, I suddenly got a phone call a couple months ago and went to visit her at her new apartment. It was clear that things had changed between us, and the awkward vibe was palpable. When I hugged her hello, her body went stiff and she didn't return the hug, and she just stared awkwardly and said nothing when I told her how great it was to see her again. I figured that she was trying to make it clear that we weren't going to resume our old pattern of casually sleeping together, which I respected, so I didn't think anything of it. One detail was odd though - she was wearing makeup, which she normally never did unless she was on a date. She's not the makeup type at all unless she's trying to impress a guy. It was a confusing detail.

After a few weeks of regularly hanging out with the same incredibly awkward vibe where she bristled if I came anywhere near her, she finally let me know that she was dating a former acquaintance of mine who we both knew back when we were still dating. This gave me pause, since I was always suspicious of her oddly close "friendship" with this guy back when we were still in a relationship, but I took it well. It was obviously none of my business anymore.

I'd been visiting and staying the night at her place as a friend for about a month, then suddenly I stopped hearing from her altogether. She wouldn't return texts or calls. After a week or so of this, I found out that she'd attempted suicide a few days after we'd last hung out. This wasn't some softcore "cry for help" attempt either - she was in a coma for two days and is seriously lucky that she survived. Obviously, the first possibility that popped into my head was that I had something to do with it. After all, it seems like an awfully big coincidence that only a few weeks after reconnecting with her estranged long-term ex, she'd attempt suicide.

Despite the fact that we hadn't spoken even once in a full year before the suicide attempt, she called me every day from the hospital for two weeks. I drove 100 miles round trip to visit her, and she asked me to be the one who picked her up from the hospital on her release date. I thought it was odd that her boyfriend wasn't doing this stuff, but I'll get to that a bit later. In any case, I'm very protective of family and loved ones, so I went out of my way to make her transition out of the hospital as comfortable as possible. I spent six hours cleaning up her trashed "depression nest" apartment for her, I took it upon myself to confront the unsympathetic landlord who was trying to serve her with eviction papers for failing to pay the rent while in the hospital, and basically I just treated her like I'd want to be treated if I were taking the first tentative steps to pull myself out of utter despondency. I know how helpless it feels to be that depressed, and in a fragile post-suicide state, it would be tremendously comforting to know that someone else is committed to helping you.

After that, she started calling me several times a day, which would result in 2-3 hour conversations. When she wasn't calling me on the phone, she was inviting me to stay at her apartment for days at a time. The most recent time I visited, she called me a few hours after I left and invited me to come back the very next day. Honestly, the suicide attempt rekindled all the emotions I felt for her, and at that point I had fallen hard in love with her again, to the point where I could hardly function. I finally wrote her a long letter pointing out that we were being codependent and that it wasn't healthy because we both know that we can't be in another failed relationship. Her response? She treated me like I was projecting all that on her, and she told me "You're codependent. I'm not." Keep in mind, I'm not the one calling her or asking her to have me visit her apartment. It's obviously my choice whether or not I want to talk to her or visit, but she's been the one who's reached out each time. I haven't called her even once.

The problem is, the more I interacted with her during subsequent visits, the more I got the distinct impression that she was either trying to seduce me or was trying her hardest to manipulate and hurt me. The former isn't a problem, because I have no intention of getting involved with her again physically, but the latter disturbs me. After hanging out a few more times, she got blatantly flirtatious with me, and when I addressed it and told her that I had no intention of being a selfish scumbag who'd hook up with an ex who's recovering from a suicide attempt, she denied that she was flirting with me and acted like I was flattering myself. I seriously started to question myself. We aren't talking about ambiguous signs here either- she made blatant sexual remarks and randomly put her foot on my lap.

Then she let it slip that her "boyfriend" was actually just a guy she was casually sleeping with, though she put it in a very vulgar way that seemed deliberately hurtful towards me. He has a main girlfriend, plus he didn't bother returning her calls from the hospital and then ridiculed her to her face for attempting suicide when she got out of the hospital. This is on top of odd comments she'd been making - when I cleaned up her apartment, she said "He'd never help me clean", etc. Why tell me that? Is she trying to basically tell me that I'm a sucker, or is she trying to say that she likes me better than him? Both, I guess.

Obviously I'm being manipulated, and I've been fully aware of that from the start, but I can't seem to disconnect from the situation. Every time I block her number, I get a cold desolate feeling in the pit of my stomach and immediately have second thoughts. She's so adamant that she isn't interested in me and that her "boyfriend" is actually a great guy, I start to question myself. I feel like she's playing ridiculous games with me but I can't let her go.

I've lost 20 pounds in the past month, I'm barely sleeping or eating, and I've started having panic attacks. I wasn't in love with her anymore when she first contacted me, but I AM horribly stomach-churningly in love with her after the suicide attempt. It seems like blatant emotional manipulation that I've apparently fallen for hook, line and sinker.

I know what needs to be done, but I guess I just need to hear it from other people.

PS - the soundtrack to this post is The Offspring - Self Esteem :lol:
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Re: Confusing signals from borderline ex after suicide attempt

Postby xdude » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:04 am

spotter036 wrote:I know what needs to be done, but I guess I just need to hear it from other people.


You do know and I can throw in a +1 vote, but yes you know.

The thing is you have seen everything you need to know, and you know if you don't stop saving her, you are going to continue to hurt yourself. It is time, for your own benefit, to start taking care of yourself first.
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Re: Confusing signals from borderline ex after suicide attempt

Postby spotter036 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:20 pm

xdude wrote:
spotter036 wrote:I know what needs to be done, but I guess I just need to hear it from other people.


You do know and I can throw in a +1 vote, but yes you know.

The thing is you have seen everything you need to know, and you know if you don't stop saving her, you are going to continue to hurt yourself. It is time, for your own benefit, to start taking care of yourself first.


Thanks for the reply, and for slogging through that novel I wrote. I should really be more concise.

Yeah though, I'm an even bigger sucker than I imagined.

I spoke to her on the phone last night and told her I need time to myself with no phone calls, and she acted immature about it but eventually just gave a passive-aggressive "Fine! Whatever you need to do." spiel and hung up.

This morning she woke me up with a phone call, we talked a couple hours, she invited me to her place for the weekend, and I reluctantly agreed. Seriously. And she brought up the possibility of trying another relationship, which made my heart leap! Oh god, what is wrong with me? :cry:

Just now I was packing my stuff and getting ready to leave until I stopped myself. I've been a really weak person. So weak.

What really got me was an epiphany I had about her new "no touching" policy. Not just intimacy - she bristles if I try to hug her goodbye, pat her on the back, touch her on the arm to get her attention, or even walk within a couple feet of her. She's not normally like this with people, and it dawned on me while I was packing that she's been doing this to deliberately make me feel creepy and small. She asks me to sleep in the same bed as her when I visit but makes a big deal if I don't stay literally all the way on the other end of the bed and acts aghast if she wakes up with my foot near hers. Dear god, I'm a horrible horrible sucker for putting up with this.

I'm hurt that someone would try to further drive the screws into me like this after I already explained to her that I've rapidly lost 20 pounds and can't sleep etc. She's watched me waste away and start looking haggard over the past month, and she's even commented on how bad I look. I can't believe someone who knows I love her would feel ok with utterly draining me like this.

I'm about to have a really difficult conversation with her in the next hour or so. It's time to rip this band-aid straight off.
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Re: Confusing signals from borderline ex after suicide attempt

Postby xdude » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:47 pm

I don't think you are weak. You just have a good heart and are trying to help her far beyond what any human can do. You meant well to the best of your ability.

I can't emphasize enough, you really need to start taking care of you, whatever way that works.

Her feelings really are not more important than your own. Let me suggest a mental image that I use, might work for you too.

Imagine an old fashion weight scale. Every time you put an emotion on her side of the scale, put at least as much on your side. You matter. Your feelings matter just as much as hers.
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