An Unholy Union

December 17, 2010

A little birdie flew to my window and informed me that my ex just got married. I couldn’t help but laugh. Not a stop, drop and roll laugh. More like a chuckle paired with a rolling of the eyes. Was this for real? She’s been engaged to be married before. So it wasn’t shocking. It was a cynical reaction for sure, but I have every reason to be cynical. She proved to me she’s incapable of love, real love. So why oh why would she get married? Well, I guess it would allow her to stay in the States (She’s Canadian). But it would also be a way for her to get the commitment, she could never get from me.

My laughter was actually a good sign. Because six months ago, I probably would have been devastated. But a lot has changed since then. I’ve learned a lot about Borderline Personality Disorder. Six months ago I had no idea what BPD was. Knowing what I know now, I can laugh. Because getting married after three months of dating someone is so typical of her, typical of a borderline personality.

I laughed because it’s only been months since we’ve been broken up. Jumping into another relationship is one thing. Getting married to the first guy who’s willing is quite another. This is a gal who told me she saw a future with me and wanted me to move in with her.  Truth be told, I was reluctant to move in with her. At the time, I had all sorts of excuses. But I was reluctant because I knew she was deeply troubled. At the time, I had no idea how easily and how quickly I would be replaced. But after all the BPD forum threads I’ve read, this was to be expected.

The honeymoon period was over by the time she had asked me to move in with her. But previous to this moment, we were inseparable. We were the couple everyone hated, because we were so nauseatingly in love. Or so I thought. People would actually walk up to us and tell us what an amazing couple we were. We both believed the hype. But it was hype created by my borderline ex.

It started out as a relationship that went surprisingly well. We had long effortless conversations and really enjoyed each others company. BPs are good at making you think they are the One. Then slowly but surely another side of her came out, a darker side. After a month passed by, she confessed to me that she had been raped in college. This was after her first meltdown. Or rather the first time she bit my head off, because I had said something that was disagreeable to her. She knew I could not walk away if she played the sympathy card. She knew I would never reject someone because they were a survivor.  I had just caught a glimpse of what I could expect down the line, but I had no idea what I was in for.

To this day, I don’t know if she was actually raped. Because I have since learned that it is not uncommon for a BP to have false memories or misinterpret triggered memories. Nor is it uncommon for a BP to make up stories to get attention or gain sympathy. This is not a BP being deceptive. This is a very troubled person who has a very loose grip on reality, a very twisted way of thinking. A BP person who will do or say anything to make sure a loved one doesn’t abandon her.

She also claimed to have memories of being molested by a relative at a very young age. This I believe. Because most BPs have experienced some type of trauma by the time they are 3-5 years of age. This is what awakens their BPD and causes their arrested development. This is also the type of trauma that sets her up to be victimized by other predators, but it also sets her up to have all sorts of lifelong issues. It’s what makes intimacy impossible without treatment.

I am telling you this, not to publicize her private tragedies, but to impress upon you how serious BPD really is. It is more than just a disorder. It is all the craziness and tragedy that comes with it. To say it is a personality disorder may be scientifically correct. But in my personal experience, it is a gross understatement.  This is where partners of BPs have more experience than a therapist. Because they have actually experienced BPD firsthand. They didn’t read about it in some medical journal or test it in some laboratory. They went through the ups and downs. They felt the pain.

I not only stayed with her, I cared for her like a good little co-dependent partner. I took care of her when she had one of her many meltdowns, soothed her when she was having a panic attack. I listened to all her sad stories. She would tell me how screwed up her family was. She would tell me how horrible all her exes were. It wasn’t until later, that I would realize that she was the horrible ex. This was another case of a BP projecting and eliciting sympathy from a would-be “knight in shining armor”.

I adored her and she seemed to be inexplicably attached to me. She really knew how to flatter my ego. But I was reluctant to move in with her because every time things were going too well, she would find a way to throw a wrench into the works. On top of that, she found ways to punish me if I didn’t reciprocate her enthusiasm for the relationship. But how can you be enthusiastic about a relationship if you don’t know what to expect? Every day she was a different person. It was damned if I do, damned if I don’t. One night, we were out drinking with some friends of hers and she had become so drunk she was flirting and kissing one of her friends right in front of me and all her friends. They were shocked. I was mortified. This would not be the last time she embarrassed me and herself.

At the time, I was ready to walk out the door. But she pulled me back in with sobbing eyes and promises that she would give up drinking and seek therapy. She said she had no recollection of that night. (In case you are wondering, this is a sign of a hardcore alcoholic) BPD is horrible by itself, but combined with alcoholism it is a living nightmare. A BP thrives on chaos and drama. If none exists, they will create it.

So when she asked me to move in with her, of course I was reluctant. This was one of the rare times my instincts had served me well. Things just seemed to be moving way too fast. So I started putting on the brakes. It would have been foolish of me to move in with her. But I can only say that now with confidence because I have perspective.

Back then, I thought I was just afraid of commitment, afraid of intimacy. I now know that I had every reason to be afraid of her. She was an abuser who had no idea she was abusing me. She was completely screwed up and as the relationship became more serious, it got worse. BPD is a disorder that is triggered by intimacy.

My hesitation would not go unpunished. It was at this moment that she split me black. A BP splits a partner black when they sense impending abandonment (perceived or otherwise). It is a defense mechanism to cut off emotional attachment right at the point they fear you will leave them. Within a month, she broke both her promises. She began picking fights over silly little things. She began spending time with other guys. And when I confronted her about daily texts from another man. She blew up. She accused me of being jealous and controlling. This was our first and last big fight. It was all down hill from here. The sabotage had begun a long time ago, but now it was in full swing.

Days later, she suggested a break. She insisted it was just a break. But this was her way of weaseling out of the relationship. Her fears of engulfment were now in play. She didn’t have the courage to say she wanted out. So she broke my heart in stages. She used the excuse that she needed time to think and take care of a friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer. But she was actually seeing another guy. The same guy she had been texting. Days later, the break turned into a break up. And days after that, she confessed to having slept with the guy she insisted was just a friend.

Again her eyes were filled with tears as she apologized for what she had done. This time she was sober. Alcoholics do screwed up things even when they are not drinking. She knew she had lied and had been unfaithful. She just didn’t have the courage to actually say she cheated. She knew that this was an act of infidelity and betrayal. There was no doubt in either of our minds. And though her eyes were filled with tears, she wasn’t actually remorseful. She was just trying to evoke sympathy, to avoid my anger. I spent the whole night telling her what I thought of her. And it wasn’t pretty. I probably went too far. But so did she.

It was actually a scary night. Because after I had spent the night yelling at her, she went from being remorseful to being numb. The crocodile tears had dried up and now she was in self-defense mode. It was as if she peeled the skin off her face to reveal her true self. It was at this time, she confessed to how messed up she really was. She admitted to putting on an act for everybody to see. She grinned a sinister grin, when she boasted what a good actress she was. She said I would be foolish to stay with her because she would probably hurt me again. She was right.

Oh but it gets worse. She then confessed to me that she wanted to end her life. (though she would deny it later) She told me she would eventually move to LA. And that she would probably cut off all contact with me. She said this with a chilling grin on her face. I would later find out she would make good on her promise to cut me out of her life.

As dawn broke, we just sat in silence. And for some god awful reason, we kissed and made up. We were both emotionally beaten up and we sought comfort from the only person who could understand what we had just been through. It was then, she made a half-ass commitment to make amends for what she had done. Looking back now, I laugh that we would even think that we could save the relationship after what she had done to me. But this is the spell only a BP can put on you. This is the power and dysfunction of a co-dependent relationship. I should have walked right out the door and told her to go back to hell. But I didn’t. She had a hold on me. There was still that part of me that made excuses for her, because she was a sexual assault survivor. I was a fool but I was a fool in love. I would later learn that love was an addiction.

Needless to say the half-ass attempt to save the relationship was a joke. To add insult to injury, she insisted that she keep in touch with her “friend”.  BPs can not resist the allure of the emotionally unavailable because they are mirror images of themselves. She also made it impossible for me to see her, and got upset when I suggested she was avoiding me. She accused me of pressuring her, when all I was doing was trying to save our relationship, as we had agreed. I got upset and lashed out at her. And she used this as an excuse to shut me out completely. She ignored my phone calls and when she did respond, I was treated to all sorts of outlandish threats and accusations. She brought her friends and family into the act as well.

This after I had introduced her to my entire family. Yes, before all this madness transpired, I actually invited her to be a part of my family. She was welcomed with open arms, thanksgiving dinners, etc. And now her friends and family were treating me like dirt. How’s that for a slap in the face? BPD is not just one individual with a disorder, it is deeply rooted in a dysfunctional world. BPs go untreated and stay in denial thanks to a network of enablers. I regret introducing her to my family now, but that’s because I have experienced the unthinkable.

I wish I could say this was the end of this tragedy, but what followed was a serious of make-ups and break ups. When she cut off contact with me, she immediately ran back to her “friend”. And she only came running back when that “friend” rejected her. He got what he wanted and he had no more use for her. Of course, she ran back to me for comfort.  This after all the threats and accusations. And even though I welcomed her back as a friend…  Even though I had apologized for lashing out at her, she had the audacity to accuse me of scaring off her “friend”.  The sweet and tender lover I once knew was gone, and she was replaced by a cold-hearted bitch.

“Why on earth would someone stay with someone like that?”, one might ask. And that would be a valid question. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve asked that same question. But despite all her issues, there was always the woman who I fell in love with. She was beautiful and bright. And there were times, she acted like the perfect girlfriend. She made me laugh and want to be a better person. She inspired me with her words and her achievements. And she was great with kids.

And for all the bad days, there were always the days that I will still cherish. The days that were filled with laughter and fond memories. A BP can’t always control their behavior. But when they can, they make the most out it. They give you reasons to hang on just a little bit longer. At times, she really really did try to make it work. There were times when she showed self-awareness and demonstrated a will to change. It was these moments that led me to believe true love could conquer all. But I was kidding myself.

She eventually moved to LA. And even though we agreed to stay friends, she would go back on that promise as well. It was impossible for us to be friends, there was too much emotion between us. I knew too much about her. Once I was no longer needed to comfort her, she went back to being hostile and abusive. She accused me of not be able to handle rejection, but the truth was she was the one who felt rejected (thus the hostility). All I wanted was to stay on good terms. The day I told her I would not be moving to LA with her, something in her head snapped. I could see the light go out in her eyes. From then on, she was in fight/flight mode. My efforts to reach out to her only made her more hostile. It was her way of scaring me off.

I, on the other hand, was nicer to her than I should have been. Still she found a reason to cut me out of her life. But now I realize she did me a huge favor. Because if she had stayed in my life, I would not have been able to see her for who she really is- a deeply troubled soul. I would not have had time to heal. I would not have sought out answers.

And so when I heard she got married, I laughed. Because that could have been me. BPs seek commitment to soothe their fears of abandonment. And when I could not give her that commitment (for obvious reasons), she simply took her love and gave it to the next person in line. That’s how shallow a BP’s love is. It’s not real love. It’s simulated love.

The man she married is in for a surprise. He has no idea what he’s in for. They are still in their honeymoon period, but it’s only a matter of time when the craziness will come out. Personally, I think it is unconscionable for her to marry someone after admitting to me how screwed up she is. It’s almost as if she doesn’t care who she hurts as long as it serves her purpose. I know she reads this blog. I know she knows about BPD. But she is deep deep in denial. She has convinced herself that moving to LA and getting married will give her a fresh start. She thinks her marriage will cure a lifetime of trauma. But she’s kidding herself, as most borderlines do.

A therapist would say that BPD is a disorder where intense emotions override cognitive function. In other words, it makes smart people do stupid things. It’s never a good idea to rush into marriage, but when the core of your disorder is a fear of intimacy then you’re just asking for a lifetime of hurt. I wish them luck. They’ll need it.

7 Responses to “An Unholy Union”

  1. Shane said

    I have finally moved on from my relationship with a BPD,it amazes me how long it took to disengage,my rational mind was in constant conflict with my emotions and my desire to recapture something that was a mirage in the first place,what also amazes me is the consistency in the recounting of the progression of relationships with BPD partners,it’s almost as if my story was being disclosed,also it’s a lonely detachment,no one,unless they go through this type of relationship themselves could really grasp how much of a living nightmare it is,God save me from any interaction with this type of woman again

    • savorydish said

      Yeah I noticed the consistency in the stories too. It’s almost as if BPs all follow the same script. But it’s this consistency that has helped me get through this. It helps to know others have been through it and had the same experiences. No one else will know how rough it is. Congrats on getting out.

    • savorydish said

      We have to save ourselves from interaction with this type of woman again. Remember BPs are only about 2% of the population, so the odds are with us. Unfortunately,borderlines are drawn to people like us and we are drawn to them. BPs either choose people who abuse them or people they can abuse. If you have been abused at least you know you’re not the other kind. But the more you learn, the easier it is to pick borderlines out of a crowd.

  2. Rachael said

    Wow. I really enjoyed (for lack of a more suitable word) reading your blog post. I’ve recently been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder but apparently I only have mild traits of the disorder thank the heavens because that is enough to deal with on it’s own. I don’t want to sound condescending but I really admire the way you write about this subject which must have been a horrible experience for you to be involved with.

    🙂

    • savorydish said

      Thanks Rachael,
      Not condescending at all. Always appreciate a kind word of encouragement. There’s a lot of info out there on BPD, but some of the psycho-babble can be hard to decipher. So I’ve tried to talk about it in a way that is more accessible and less clinical. I had hoped my personal stories would make the material more human.

      The fact that you can read such material and not be offended or enraged is further proof that your BPD is mild. BTW some psychologists believe we all have a little bit of BPD in us. They believe it is part of that primal survival instinct that was passed on from our cave-dwelling ancestors. A BP’s abuse can also pass on (or re-awaken) trauma-related symptoms (eg. separation anxiety). IMHO BPD is only a problem when someone else is being abused. Otherwise being diagnosed with BPD can be a good thing. Because now you’re aware of it and you can potentially overcome it.

      Sadly, being abused and betrayed by a borderline was a horrible experience for me. Thanks for the sympathy. I’m doing my best to trust others again. But this is not my first encounter with a borderline. The damage has been done and I am working on building myself up again. The good news is now I have a name for my experience. And now I can be on the look out. I’m glad my stories are helping others get through it as well. Take care.

  3. jim said

    “But despite all her issues, there was always the woman who I fell in love with.”

    Thats what gets us all. “Maybe it can work if I fix it” thinking and “she will return to that same woman as before” thoughts.

    The best advise I have seen on all the blogs is NC and to RUN LIKE HELL!

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