You Drive Me Crazy

October 29, 2010

Ask borderline personalities about their past relationships and they might describe their ex-partners as either being crazy or horrible human beings. And you might think, “wow, what a terrible track record.” Is it possible that all the borderline’s exes were dysfunctional and abusive? Possibly. A BP attracts emotionally damaged people, because they, themselves, are emotionally damaged and have been raised in dysfunctional environments.

But what is more likely the reality of the situation is that the borderline is projecting. Rather than take responsibility for their chaotic life, they have projected that blame onto his/her lover. If a borderline’s ex was crazy, it is quite possible that the BP drove him/her crazy.

Imagine someone telling you how much they love you one day. And then the next day, they act hostile towards you (pushing you away).  Imagine being in a relationship where both of you are inseparable. And then one day, the person who was madly in love with you, tells you that you are smothering him/her. This is what it’s like to be in a relationship with a BP. It’s the ole “push and pull” and yes it can drive anyone crazy. A.J. Mahari, a recovered BP and now BPD specialist comments on this:

Borderlines are incapable of intimacy which leaves non borderlines experiencing borderline push-pull which can be crazy-making. By the very nature of BPD, borderlines as the result of their defense mechanisms of splitting, projection, and narcissism, can’t help but push-pull. When those with untreated Borderline Personality Disorder try to get close to someone – attain emotional intimacy – they immediately fear engulfment so they push away or push the non borderline away. On the other hand, or relatively quickly and perhaps within the same interaction, the slightest moving out or distance taken by someone upon whom they feel dependant sends the borderline flying back to pulling for more that very closeness they just had to repel. Until and unless a borderline gets adequate treatment and begins to change and recover from BPD (to some extent) he or she is simply not capable of consistent, congruent, age-appropriate emotional intimacy. Something that many non borderlines continue to remain in denial about and hope against hope about.

Emotionally damaged people damage others. It is not unusual for ex-partners of BPs to experience withdrawal or trauma symptoms. When a lover suddenly flips the script and pulls a 180 on you, that can literally mess with your mind. It takes a while for people to recover from a BP relationship. Some have to go and seek therapy for themselves. Someone who was betrayed by a BP will be scarred and have profound trust issues for the rest of his/her life.

It would be nice if a borderline took responsibility for the harm they have caused others. But sadly, this is not always in a BP’s nature. In some cases, it is in a BP’s nature to make you feel like you are the crazy one and that you are the reason the relationship failed. Most BPs do not seek treatment and continue living in denial. They will continue driving people crazy, one partner after another.

11 Responses to “You Drive Me Crazy”

  1. ivypixi said

    I find it disappointing to see such generalizations. I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I have not had many good relationships and none of the good ones lasted. Sometimes, my issues were the cause of the breakups. Other times, the issues of the other were to blame. Rarely, the other person and I grew apart. Most of the time, mistakes were made on both sides and ultimately, we were just not compatible. I will take responsibility for what is mine to own, but I am not to blame alone. I do not disagree that what you describe is often the case but it is not always true. Please, allow those of us who are living better, albeit imperfect, lives to get the credit when we deserve it.

    • savorydish said

      Having been in a BP relationship, I will be the first to admit that I made a lot of mistakes. But the biggest mistake I made was not doing research while I was in the relationship. I made the mistake of thinking that these were normal kinks in a relationship and I could work it out. I was wrong. I had no idea what I was dealing with. I thought I was dealing with a rape survivor, but I was actually dealing with so much more. People need to know what they are getting into when they are in a relationship with a borderline. But thank you for sharing your side of the story. I am telling the BP story from my bias, but I am more than happy to share your side of the story as well. As I said to Skyeee, there are always exceptions to the rule. And I agree, BPs should get credit where credit is due. Especially, the ones who do take responsibility for their behavior.

  2. skyeee said

    “It would be nice if a borderline took responsibility for the harm they have caused others. But sadly, this is not in a BP’s nature. It is in a BP’s nature to make you feel like you are the crazy one and that you are the reason the relationship failed. Most BPs do not seek treatment and continue living in denial. They will continue driving people crazy, one partner after another.”

    I find this to be rather insulting and please don’t take what I say to be shitty or snarky. Sure, for most people suffering from BPD, this is true, but this doesn’t adhere to every case, which you seem quite intelligent and probably already are aware, I just wanted to put my two cents in, for whatever reason.

    I happen to have BPD. My symptoms are difficult and I realize this. I realize that my arguments with my husband are mostly because of me. Never do I blame him for my projections or my irrational behavior at times. I do not have the narcissistic behavior of blaming everyone but myself. Actually, quite the opposite.

    I find it very depressing to open any book regarding BPD and relationships and find the only advice is to run…literally. There are people suffering from BPD that are not blaming everyone for their behavior, but in fact, waking up everyday, blaming theirselves and feeling immense amounts of guilt.

    • savorydish said

      I apologize if I’ve offended you. And your input as a BPD survivor is always appreciated here. Most of my comments are generalizations, but I agree there are always exceptions to the rule. You are clearly one of them. You have a level of maturity and self-awareness that most borderlines do not. I also know there is a great deal of stigma attached to this disease, and can only imagine how discouraging it can be for BPs. I’m actually in the process of writing an article on how to deal with a borderline relationship. And yes it includes advice on walking away if the borderline is untreated. But this should only encourage more BPs to get help. Like alcoholism and drug addiction, BPD is not compatible with intimacy.

      But once treated, I believe it is entirely possible to live happily with a borderline. You seem to be fully conscious of your behavior, so I’m assuming you have had a good deal of therapy and self-education. In regards to BPs blaming themselves and feeling guilt, I also agree with you. In fact, I believe because BPs are so hyper-sensitve they actually feel more guilt than the average person. Which is why they are less likely to take responsibility for the harm they’ve caused. Denial gives them relief from the pain of guilt. In no way did I mean to suggest BPs are devoid of emotions. But it is because they feel emotions so intensely that problems arise. I hope this is less insulting.

      I wish I didn’t have to write any of this. Much of it is a painful reminder of past relationships. But even though my relationships failed, I still love those people a great deal. I feel more people need to know about BPD. People involved with BPs need to know they are not crazy. They need to know there is a reason why their lover or ex-lover is acting the way they do. Unfortunately, a lot of this info does not put BPs in a positive light. But it is a disorder after all. One with tragic outcomes. Nobody chooses to be borderline. But people like you show that with help, a BP can live happily ever after. Thanks for your insight.

  3. savorydish said

    The above posting has been revised to reflect concerns.

  4. skyeee said

    I appreciate it. All in all, it just really hurts my fucking feelings to hear things and read books that constantly swear up and down BP’s are unfixable. We’re broken and theres nothing anyone can do.

    I just picked up a book called “Crazy Love”. It’s about people with various personality disorders. I picked it up with the thoughts that it would be a good read for my husband and I and maybe it would have a positive affect on our dealings in our relationship. I read, “And to be honest, most of us, professional therapists included, will just get exhausted by and sometimes hopeless about the borderline person.”

    You’re absolutely right. The worst thing anyone can do, is not know. To not research. For years, I wasn’t aware of why I was behaving the way I was and to this day I still have difficulties with it. I had so much guilt for the shit I put one of my ex boyfriends through, it haunted me. It was on my mind from the moment I woke up. Finally, I got the courage to apologize. I don’t know if he took it sincerely or even took a moment to think about it, but it felt better.

    Ah, I’m rambling. Anyways, I appreciate your input on it. I appreciate when people can discuss BP and give the opportunity to make people aware. It’s scary living with it. The constant guilt, the constant feeling of being alone, and the fact that out of any disorder, BP is the most likely to end in suicide, is quite terrifying.

    • savorydish said

      Regardless of your BPD, you sound like an awesome human being. You have a pretty positive attitude despite the hardships you’ve faced. Your hubby is a lucky man. And you are lucky to have a guy who is willing to educate himself. That must help a great deal. A lot of BPs out there could learn a lot from you. (I put your blog on my blog roll.) The fact that you have accepted your diagnosis and are working to take responsibility for your past and future puts you leagues above most BPs. Which is why you are the exception to the rule.

      And here’s the thing- most of those books out there are making generalizations about untreated BPs (sometimes out of control BPs). As you pointed out, being aware makes all the difference. The fact that you and I are having a rational discussion about this speaks volumes about your improvement. You don’t how many comments I’ve had to trash, because it’s basically a person with a personality disorder using me as their emotional punching bag. These are people in denial and projecting their anger. They think that lashing out at me is going to make them feel better. And it’s not.

      On another note, it does take a lot of courage for a BP to apologize. For many BPs an apology means accepting guilt and that means a lot of pain. I’ve received an apology from one past ex, and I can tell you it meant the world to me. As sad as I am to end any relationship, it’s always nice to know they still care. There are still a few who have yet to apologize for their behavior, but that’s life. Like you said, I’m sure they are haunted by their guilt. It sounds like the apology did wonders for your conscience.

      And yes suicide is a huge concern. Which is why I think it’s important for BPs to clear their conscience. My last ex talked about ending her life on more than one occasion. I think all the shit she’s put other people through was finally catching up with her. But when she split black, she flat out denied the suicidal tendencies. I contacted her parents about it, and they got pissed at me. They were more concerned about her reputation than her well-being. Basically told me it was none of my business. I was the only boyfriend who ever encouraged her to seek therapy and they were acting like I was a threat. It goes to show you that BPD has deep roots in the family. I worry about her to this day.

      Anyhoo, take care and feel free to keep me updated on your progress.

    • savorydish said

      ps- it’s also pretty courageous for you to talk about your BPD on the blogosphere. Most BPs don’t even have the courage to admit they have it for fear of rejection, embarrassment, and shame. I read your last post and it contains some very personal stuff. Pretty ballsy. But I imagine it was kinda cathartic to get it out. I’m sure a lot of people will benefit from it.

  5. skyeee said

    Thank you. I really appreciate hearing that.

    The post you made listing the things you loved about BPs had me in tears. I had to catch my breath. Hardly, if ever, do we hear these positives.

    Some things are really hard to accept and write or discuss, but after being off medication, I have realized that I have to accept and discuss these things. If I don’t my marriage, my life, and my children’s mental well being will end.

    I’m so open that I think it scares people. I just have nothing to hide and mental illnesses of all sorts need to be discussed. There are a lot of people who feel they are alone.

  6. savorydish said

    My pleasure. I’m not so bad after all, huh?

    I’m not interested in bashing BPs. But I’ve got a lot of stuff I need to get out too. Unfortunately, not every BP is as considerate as you. If they were, people like me wouldn’t need to write posts making BPs aware of the pain they’ve caused. If more BPs took responsibility for their behavior and well being like you did, BPD wouldn’t have the stigma it does.

  7. Woman with son and ex said

    Thank you for this insight! I am not sure if my ex partner has BPD, NPD or is just difficult. Some people have said it sounded like BPD or NPD. One thing i know for sure: he drives me mad. And that is really mad. I don’t know who i am dealing with. I had lost my husband and became insecure and sad. He had always been after me, and when i was alone after my husband death he would help me and be supportive. It was a bit to extreem for my idea, but i didn’t realise what was hapening. He is like he is two people. He is this shy and sweet man, with a sweet smile. Happy to see me like a child, and he is cold and distant, ignoring me. He thinks i am everything! And he thinks i am nothing. He thinks i am to good for him.. and he thinks i am not good anough, He is arrogant, he is insecure, he calls me “love” and he calls me names (like bad names). He asked me to marry him 3 times the first 2 months and now he calls me crazy cause i loved him “to soon”. He would hit me, in a playfull way, but it was always to hard, i told him it was to painfull, and then he would laugh and say: “nonsense!~i was just playing” He would laugh at me in a humiliating way. He held me in his arms and kissed me and told me he would be happy if we had a baby… i got pregnant and he didn’t want it. I was very sick during pregnancy, but he wasn’t there to support me. One day i asked him about it and he responded very cruel. Saisd he never loved me, he had just felt lonely, said he never respected me, just thought i was mad and didn’t need to be taken seriously. He didn’t want to be there when the baby was born, and didn’t want to be there after. So i did everything alone. After my baby was born he started gossiping about me with people in my environment. He said it was because he wanted information about his son, but it wasn’t about the baby, it was about me. Turns out also that he had met someone else during my pregnancy when we were still together. He says she is like hiim… she had cut herself and drinks and is medicated for anxiety. As far as i know he had never cut himself, but he does drink. He told me he hates himself and was projecting his selfhate on me. He alo told me he feels empty often and thinks there is no point in things, life etc. (Not that he tried to kill himself, luckily). He has problems at work, he lies he manipulates and always turns things around. He can use apologies to get away with his behaviour and get what he wants. He can forget things that are not handy to remember. Like he forgets saying hurtfull things. He is over sensitive and romantic, and unsensitive towards others. Now i don’t know who i am dealing with. I think of that sweet man, who is shy and like a boy a bit, and i think of this cold man who is a bit scary man, i think of the fun we had, and i think of the pain he caused. Now i am the one who became mad. At least, in dealing with him. Because i don’t know who i am dealing with. It is like he is more than one person. So i think sometimes about his sensitivity (for himself), but an other time i think about his lies and abuse. I think, i need to be carefull with him and kind, then i think: “wait a minute, he was cold and lying, he let me deal with pregnancy and take care of the baby alone” so then i am upset with him. I am angry that he just left with another girl, because he didn’t want the baby.. and now he does want the baby, and he wants him with hima and the girl. He says after a while i will be over the fact that he has a new partner. As if that is the story! It is not that i am unhappy tith the new partner in itself.
    Wow, it is a long sory. I am glad i could write it down. Because it drives me mad…..

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