Confessions of a Cheating Heart

August 7, 2010

A cheating woman blames her Borderline Personality Disorder. She  posted this explanation of her behavior on a psych forum:

These symptoms can often make me do something stupid, such as sleep with someone even though I don’t want to be with them. . . because they make me feel special. I cheated on a boyfriend, a man I still cry over two years later, because he told me he was moving over 4 hours away for at least a year, and the fear of never seeing him again apparently bothered me without me even thinking about it.

She was responding to other posters who suggested that BPs don’t feel remorse for their harmful behavior:

I cheated on him and I never even realized why I did it. I didn’t want to. I felt awful while doing it…. but I did it anyway… and I cried.. I wanted to cry during, and after. . . and every time I saw his face. I also had him take me back home, (I was living 20 minutes away from home to be close to him) and then told him what I’d done… and I cried.. oh boy did I cry. So yes, I obviously felt remorse. I felt awful… and I tried to break up with him BEFORE I did that, because I felt as though I was going to do something stupid. . . Which I eventually did end up doing. I also did not beg him to change his mind and give me another chance, because I did not feel worthy. I didn’t want to ruin his life any further. And to this day, he’s the only man I’ve loved as much as I do, even after the idealization has lifted. He truly was a great man, and the woman he’s with today is luckier than she realizes.

She also posted this quote about BPs from the National Institute of Mental Health:

Thus, they may form an immediate attachment and idealize the other person, but when a slight separation or conflict occurs, they switch unexpectedly to the other extreme and angrily accuse the other person of not caring for them at all. Even with family members, individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to rejection, reacting with anger and distress to such mild separations as a vacation, a business trip, or a sudden change in plans. These fears of abandonment seem to be related to difficulties feeling emotionally connected to important persons when they are physically absent

So is BPD a legitimate excuse for infidelity? Or hurting those who love and care about you?

Certainly, those who suffer from BPD deserve sympathy and compassion. But does that mean they shouldn’t be held accountable for their bad behavior? No doubt this disorder “makes” people do horrible things.

But ultimately, BPs do have the ability to make rational decisions. Maybe not all of the time, but most of the time. They can choose to own up to their mistakes. They can choose to not run away from their problems. They can choose to figure out why they do the things they do.

But the most important decision they can make is to get the help they need, so they no longer do things they will regret for the rest of their lives. Remorse means nothing without change.

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