January 8, 2014
The story is an all too familiar one in the world of borderline personality disorder- Boy meets girl. Girl falls madly in love with boy. Boy decides she is the one. Boy finds out girl has serious issues. Girl agrees to therapy. Girl stresses out and runs from boy. Girl cuts boy out of her life forever. (Yes, this happens the other way too) One young man recounts his experiences falling in love with a borderline:
In any case, I’m in my Senior year in college and dated a girl for a year and a half, and she’s been thru it all. First off, she is smart, funny, and absolutely gorgeous. However, she was raped, sexually assaulted, saw a friend die, has a mom with biploar, really odd boyfriends, etc…when I met her I went thru most of which you guys wouldn’t be surprised to hear. I stopped her from cutting, hitting herself, had to calm her during flashbacks, panic attacks, suicidality, etc.
The bond that is established between a trauma survivor and a person that becomes the caregiver is much more intense than your average relationship. It is a codependent relationship for sure, but it is also highly addictive for both parties. When that trauma includes rape, the caregiver is biting off more than they can chew.
We also had numerous, heated arguments that led to us breaking up almost every week. Often she would try to make me jealous by flirting with other guys, or just start fights for no reason, often throwing things, screaming terrible insults at me, etc. I stood by her thru all of this because when she was actually healthy we were pretty amazing together. I always knew in the back of my mind that this girl was borderline, and biploar, and odds are it wouldn’t work out.
Nothing hurts more than going out of the way to care for someone with extraordinary emotional needs only to have them lash out at you in extraordinarily cruel ways. A BP is use to abusive/ dead-end relationships. When they finally meet someone who is kind and giving, they freak out. They feel unworthy of someone who is in it for the long haul. And so the self-sabotage begins. Unconsciously, they push their lover away. And then ruthlessly punish them, when they finally do drift away.
BPs are not evil people. They are terribly insecure and emotionally damaged. But a terribly insecure person can do horrible things to someone who loves them. Ironically, a BP is more likely to harm someone who loves them than someone who neglects them. To their credit, the partners of BPs are able to forgive BPs for what most people would consider unforgivable. This requires a tremendous amount of patience and tolerance. Most people would abandon a BP. But the few who do stick it out, hope for better days.
Then, I helped convince her to go to McLean Hospital, and seek DBT therapy. She definitely improved, and after that all of a sudden the relationship changed. She was an amazing girlfriend, did whatever she could to help me, was SO loyal to me, and basically everything I could have ever wanted. Last semester (Sept. 2009-Dec. 2009) things just skyrocketed. We practically lived together and hung out all the time…
This sounds like a really inspiring story right?!?! I mean, for months my friends and my family told me that we could never have a normal relationship, they would sit me alone in my room everyday and tell me to get out before I got hurt. Even they started to admit they were wrong, and we were really on our way. I made the mistake of really letting my guard down, I completely ignored the fact that she was bipolar and could change her mind any second. I really believed that this was the right girl for me, and that we would be together forever. Before I was honestly afraid of breaking up with her because she was so attached to me, but that stopped even being a possibility. She would talk about our wedding, kids, family, future, everyday, and I really started to believe we would have all of that.
BPs are very good at pulling people into their drama. They are even better at giving false hope. When a BP can no longer deny their issues, they will promise to seek help. For a short period of time, the BP will display signs of improvement. But these are short-term gains, mostly superficial improvements. During this period, BPs are on their best behavior. They are putting up a facade of good mental health. But just one bump in the road is all it takes for the facade to fall off.
When February started, all of a sudden everything just changed. We had a hard conversation where she told me that she was really worried about being long-distance, and that her therapist at McLean might tell her she has to break up with me because distance is so hard on her.
It doesn’t take much for a BP to be discouraged. In their defense, dealing with BPD/Rape trauma is no easy task. But it is not unusual for a BP to throw in the towel after a few months of therapy. Whether or not the therapist actually told her to break up with her boyfriend is questionable. Sometimes a BP hears what he/she wants to hear. It is more likely that this BP finally succumbed to her fears of abandonment. A BP breaks off a relationship as a preemptive measure against his/her own heart break.They break your heart before you can break theirs. In some ways, it gives them control.
Also because she was too dependent on me this year, and next year it would be a hard transition to be without me– I was her whole life. I knew I was really in for a hard, hard time after that talk. The next day, petty fights just started up constantly for no reason. She soon went into a severe depressive state, to the point where she had seizure-like behaviors. Things turned really quickly, and became really bad. She stayed in my room for about 4 days straight and I had to carry her around everywhere. I had to get her every meal, call professors to tell them she was ill, carry her to the bathroom, etc. Her rape flashbacks also started up again, and the Zoloft completely took away her sex drive. As a result, her Body Image disorders just shot thru the roof, everything was going wrong. Then shortly before Valentine’s day she came and told me she didn’t know if she loved me anymore, obviously I was crushed! The next day she sent me a message, blocking me on facebook and saying she will no longer contact me because of advice from her parents and doctors.
When a BP becomes emotionally dependent on someone, the fear of losing that crutch is too much. It is this fear that brings out the darkside of a BP. Picking fights is a sign that the BP is looking for an out. They are devaluing you to make it easier to leave while pushing you away at the same time. Eventually, a BP devalues you to the point where they feel nothing for you. You are dead to them. A BP partner rarely sees this coming. They think the fights are just part of the ups and downs of a BP relationship, not realizing that this is the final dip.
In a matter of days, you have gone from the love of their life, to someone who is smothering them. Partners are usually shocked at how cold their ex-lover has become. Blocking you from facebook is the least of your worries. When a BP “splits you black”, they can resort to hostility to get rid of you. That hostility can translate into infidelity, a smear campaign and false accusations. When a BP is in the grips of fear, both rational thought and compassion are thrown out the window. The love you had is a distant memory as far as they are concerned. In some cases, the BP will convince themselves it was all an illusion. And in a way, he/she would be right. An untreated BP is incapable of actual intimacy. You have just witnessed what happens when a BP finds him/herself in a serious relationship.
Sadly, a BP in denial will never know how much pain they have caused their lovers. A partner who has been cut out of a lover’s life will go through unimaginable pain, self-doubt, and deep depression. These caretakers gave up their own well-being to love a BP, and in return were betrayed.
I feel like I wasted 1.5 years of my life. Logically, I know life must go on and I have such a solid friends/family support base that getting thru this really hasn’t been that bad. I’m still devastated though and think about her everyday. I dream about her every night. I hope to never hear from her again because I’m so angry, what kind of sick person gives you their life for 18 months, then just expunges you completely? At the same time– I secretly hope, everyday, that she contacts me and gives me a reason to take her back. I also know that I will never take her back again, or will I? I’m very confused. Does she come back to me? Do I contact her? Is there any hope? Is she going to make an honest effort to get better, then come back to me when she is ready? What in the world is going on?!?!?
But the fact is a BP is sick. Many lovers underestimate how sick a BP is at their own expense. Well-meaning friends will tell this person to move on, but it’s never that easy. A BPD love is an addiction. When you stop cold-turkey you go through withdrawal symptoms. This person has just been traumatized and victimized. It will take a great deal of time (and maybe counseling) to heal and trust someone again. Unless, a BP has been treated for years there is always the risk of being put through the wringer.
November 26, 2013
Borderline Personalities are notorious for playing the victim. They have this notion that the whole world is conspiring to get them, that life itself is out to get them. Their lack of self compels them to seek out a feeling of self-importance.
What I found odd about my ex was that her accusations were more about her than me. If she accused me of being hostile it was usually because she was being hostile. She was always complaining that people were being overly intense or aggressive. But she would ignore the fact that she was usually the one being intense and overly aggressive. It was as if she was looking for a fight. She would provoke people just to get a rise. And then when they did respond, she would accuse the other person being abusive. If anything, people went out of their way to accommodate her moodiness.
My ex hated to be criticized, but often engaged in acts that called for negative attention. She would engage in abusive acts and wait for you to condemn her. And as soon as you did, she would then accuse you of abusing her. She was the victim, never the abuser. At least, in her troubled mind.
I thought this following article on borderline personalities was spot on. In particular, the observation that BPs will often play the victim to flatter their suffering egos:
Borderlines can be both very self-loathing and narcissistic at the same time. Some Borderlines see themselves as a victim to the entire world, a world which in their eyes wants to crucify them though they are nothing, and at the same time share the belief that it is because they are so “special”, that everyone around them is “hating” on them and wants to crucify them. For many Borderlines, the belief that someone doesn’t like them or wants to hurt them makes them feel significant, big, like they are somebody or else why would people want to diminish someone they thought of as small. Because most Borderlines thrive off of the idea of people wanting to victimize them, they often find themselves creating self-defeating situations around them, even when all the cards are stacked up in their favor.
Towards the end of our relationship I was skeptical every time my ex cried wolf, even when she complained about headaches or some other imaginary ailment. It got to a point where I assumed she was just looking for attention. Playing victim was her way of making sure no one would abandon her.
It only got worse when she split me black. I was already breaking my back to repair a relationship she had destroyed. And she was simultaneously pushing me away and stringing me along. One second, accusing me of harassing her and then, the next minute, calling me to meet her- to soothe her feelings of loneliness. And then discarding me, once she had found someone else to give her attention. She went back to playing the victim and I went from savior back to being a villain. Whatever was convenient for her at the time.
This victim mind game is abuse at its worst. It’s playing with someone’s mind and heart. It’s not caring about other people’s feelings, because you are so consumed by your own pursuit for attention. Borderlines surround themselves with people who are more than willing to feed this insatiable hunger for attention and expel anyone who denies them the satisfaction. The sad thing about my ex is she’s crying out for help, but nobody is listening. That’s what happens when you cry wolf too many times.
April 11, 2013
As they say, the apple never falls far from the tree. Unfortunately, that is especially true when it comes to repeating the mistakes of our parents. The following is a borderline’s observation about her own struggle with intimacy:
Lack of Skill
Most people primarily learn behavior as a child by watching their parents interact. Well, in my childhood home, my parents either ignored each other, or my mom was yelling about what she wanted or didn’t get from my father. So guess what I learned to do? I either ignore the problem until it builds up and I explode at anyone I see as contributing to the problem… even if they had no idea there even was a problem. A lot of the adult (and even some peer) relationships I was exposed to were like that; and I learned the lesson too well, having the same pattern reinforced for 10 years during my first marriage. I never really learned how to interact with someone I was in an intimate relationship with.
When it comes to most BPD relationships, it is all or nothing. Hot or cold. Full-blown rage or passive-aggressive silence. A BP either bashes you or shuts you out. You might have enjoyed some constructive and meaningful conversations in the beginning of the relationship. But once a borderline splits you black, it’s all over. Once they feel they are in danger of being emotionally hurt or abandoned, they will kick you to the curb. For a BP, this is a case of both nature and nurture. If a Borderline ever hopes to achieve real intimacy, he/she must learn to not push it away.
August 13, 2011
I briefly raised this point in another thread just now. I’ll cut a long story short, here. I met my bpdexgf on facebook in March of last year (LDR). On her fb profile pics I noticed that she looked like a very different person on every single shot, whereas the people who were on the pics with her never looked any different.
When I eventually met her in person she again looked completely different than she did on her pics — you could just about tell it was her. Still very pretty but markedly different.
When I met her family and friends they appeared to look exactly the same as they did on the pics, but she didn’t. Even when I brought her to my home town to meet my family my sister even remarked that she looked like a totally different girl in the flesh than she did on her pics.
Even her personality was totally different than how she came across over the phone! She came across as bubbly, warm, caring, sincere, cutesy and really down-to-earth. But in person she had a slightly snobby accent and she had a spoiled daddy’s little rich girl kind of attitude.
I came across an internet article on multiple personality disorder, whereby some psychotherapist was talking about a phenomenon in patients with multiple personality disorder (she had BPD), where they ‘switch’ or split. This guy said that he notices when his patients switch/split, their physical appearance changes also! I believe that this would explain why she looked like a totally different person on her pics, because the camera was capturing her image each time she would go through her splitting states. She even said to me that she feels like a totally different person in front of other people.
It was all incredibly strange, in retrospect, and it felt as though my girlfriend, who I was in love with over the phone, had been replaced by a clone created in some shady genetics lab.
Have any of you experienced anything like this?
I laughed when I read this. My borderline-ex was constantly changing her image as well. And yes, it would someone how correspond to what was going on inside her funny little head. When she felt threatened, she would become uptight and aloof. When she split me, she took on this ridiculous supermodel/diva persona (an air of superiority if you will). If I wasn’t so upset about her sudden animosity, I probably would have laughed at how absurd/fake her behavior was.
She was compensating for how she felt on the inside (which is to say she felt like shit) by gussying up on the outside. We all do this to some extent, but she took it to the extreme (as she does with everything). It’s misleading for those who have no idea how disordered she is. They see this fashion model exterior and think “wow, she looks great, she must be feeling great.” But the reality is the more airbrushing she would put on, the worst she felt on the inside. It is all part of the illusion she creates for the outside world.
It sounds like the guy above is dealing with a histrionic borderline- they can be cartoonish at times. They put on airs that seem silly (even scary) to an observer, but they hardly notice the change. They take on whatever personality they think will be able to handle the situation at hand. It’s a survival skill. At times, H/BPD looks remarkably like Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID or multiple personality disorder). I believe they are all on the same spectrum, with DID being more disordered.
I also believe the gal above was probably a survivor of sorts. Whenever you have a major personality shift it implies there has been some traumatic past. When she acts snobbish in person, that is a defense-mechanism. She is putting up a protective barrier.
I see it all the time with survivors. Other variations of this personality- the Vintage Store Fashionista, the Unhinged Bitch, the Goth/Punk Rock Bitch, the BAMF, Daddy’s Little Princess, the Gangsta Bitch, the Art School Cynic, the Angry Lesbian, the Literary Academic, the Indignant Feminist/Activist, the Finicky Vegetarian, etc. etc. These are all personas the survivor has adopted to keep people at a distance, to make themselves feel superior or above it all. But it often results in isolation and deterioration of healthy relationships. They end up hanging out with other dysfunctional enablers who keep them in their delusional state (aka denial).
People with histories of physical and sexual abuse often display both BPD and DID as a result of their trauma. Dissociation is just one of the many red flags. People dissociate from traumatic memories to cope. It is my belief that my borderline ex also had DID along with all the other bad things that go with BPD. BPD is like an emotional variety pack from hell. It comes with all sorts of undesirable qualities… all sorts of contrivances.
But if you know what to look for, then things like a sudden change in appearance can provide clues to what’s going on in that head of theirs.
June 1, 2011
May 29, 2011
Borderlines who have a history of ending their relationships abruptly, will most likely deny having a fear of intimacy/abandonment. Since they are the breaker-upper, they are more than happy to see their partners go. But this is the borderline fooling themselves into believing they are completely in control.
What they fail to realize is there is a reason why they devalue their partners. The cliche “it’s me, not you” really applies here. They fail to see that prior to the devaluation, everything was going fine. But when things go too well… when they become more vulnerable… that’s when the borderline starts throwing a wrench into the works.
Whether they are aware of it or not, the more attached they become to someone, the more they fear losing them. This causes the borderline to feel trapped and suffocated. They are drowning in fear and insecurity. It will end with the borderline becoming inexplicably hostile, ruthlessly cutting off the partner they once couldn’t get enough of.
May 26, 2011
From an article titled Warning Signs That The Woman You’re Dating May Have Borderline Personality Disorder:
1. Does she immediately open up to you about abuse in her past?
2. Does she trash her ex-boyfriend or ex-husband even before you hardly get to know her. Does she seem to go on and on about her ex and how he ruined her life?
3. Does she have an unstable relationship with her parents?
4. Does she say bad things about her parents to you?
5. Does she seem very quick to fall in love with you and almost view you as her knight in shining armor?
6. Was she quick to have sex with you?
7. Does she have a difficult time being friends with other women?
8. Does she currently only have one friend that seems to keep coming back in and out of her life or does she have no friends at all?
9. Does it seem like a lot of bad things keep happening to her? Thrown out by her boyfriend, trouble with finances, trouble keeping a job etc
10. Does she seem to have very compelling stories and reasoning that explains why the bad things have happened to her (example, her ex-boyfriend made her run up her credit card debts and that’s why her credit is bad)
11. Does she seem to want to move the relationship forward at a very quick pace?
12. She shown an interest in moving in with you?
13. Does she have screaming fits in front of you?
14. Does she start horrible yelling fights with you and when you try to leave she begs for you to stay?
15. Has she bought you extravagant gifts?
16. Is she willing to explore risky sexual behaviors?
17. Does she abuse drugs or alcohol?
I agree with the author. This is probably not someone you want to continue dating. Unless a borderline has had years of therapy it is best not to get involved. An untreated borderline can cause a lot of damage in a short period of time. If they aren’t even aware they have BPD, that is a definite no-win situation. You can not convince a borderline in denial that they have a problem. They must come to that conclusion themselves.