January 22, 2011
Just when I think I’ve finally met a well-adjusted woman, she admits to me that she was raped. It’s official. I attract tragic women. I’ve read enough about this to know why, but it still doesn’t cease to amaze me. I hate to judge someone because she has confessed a terrible past, but I know how it will end. In the end, I’m the one who gets screwed.
She seems buttoned-up enough, but I’ve fallen for this act before. Why does it bother me that she’s a survivor? Because it usually means heart break for me. How am I so sure of this? Because, I’ve been down this road before. More than once. Despite my better judgment, I get involved with these tragic women, thinking we can overcome the emotional obstacles. But inevitably, they always freak out.
Up to this point, she’s only gone out with abusive assholes. And now that she has found someone who has the patience to deal with her issues, she will eventually feel compelled to sabotage the relationship and run for cover.
Eventually, she will find a way to demonize me too, because untreated survivors create self-fulfilling prophecies. They create unrealistic expectations that you are sure to fail. They create hostility that makes you say and do things you never dreamed of saying or doing. They pull you in only to push you away. And then they punish you when you finally do drift away. It is a no-win situation. It is their own brand of abuse.
As with most survivors, there’s usually more to the story, stories of a chaotic family life and rocky relationships. She has already admitted to feeling smothered by men. This is a red alert signaling that this woman has severe intimacy issues.
Not to mention my own issues. When you have been burnt as many times as I have, you steer away from commitment. I have made the conscious decision to continue dating other women. Not because I’m a player. Because I’m reluctant to pour my heart into another relationship just to have it broken by another tragic woman.
It’s too bad. She is a sweet person and we have so much fun together, but I can already tell she’s emotionally unavailable. I have a tendency to date busy women. But usually they’re busy for a reason. And it’s not because they’re ambitious. It’s because they’re avoiding intimacy. I’d like to get to know her more, but I fear I already know more than enough.
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.
November 30, 2010
If you want to know what it’s like to fall in love with an emotionally damaged borderline personality, see Love and Other Drugs. It’s about a man who falls in love with a woman who is battling Parkinson’s. But if you’re in a relationship with a borderline, you will see an uncanny resemblance. Essentially, you have two people who are afraid of getting close to someone. Both avoiding intimacy by pursuing shallow relationships. Both using people for sex and other superficial needs. But what happens when these two people accidentally fall in love?
This movie illustrates the push and pull that can happen in this type of dysfunctional relationship. In the movie, the fear of abandonment is a side effect of Parkinson’s. But what if the fear of abandonment is the disease itself (such as the case with BPD)? Then you have someone who is constantly on guard like the woman in this film. Some might say she’s kind of bitchy. But that is her defense-mechanism. She expects men to reject her and her disease, so she scares them off.
The female character hates men, because she habitually dates assholes. Men who fulfill her negative expectations. She dates assholes to avoid attachment. But when one of those assholes turns out to be a good guy (a guy who is in it for the long haul) she freaks out. She pokes and prods him. She tests his limits. She questions his every intention until he doubts his own feelings. She treats him like shit until he has no choice but to leave. She can’t help but sabotage her relationships. Especially, when actual love enters the equation. This is what it’s like to love a person with BPD. For a BP, it is a constant battle between the fear of being alone and the fear of abandonment/rejection. In the end, the relationship meltdown is a self-fulfilling prophecy. They don’t mean to hurt the ones they love. But they do it anyways.
Could the character in this film also have had BPD? Possibly. It is not uncommon for BPs to develop other severe illnesses. When life is this stressful, it is bound to wreak havoc on your body and mind. Not to mention the damage it can do to your relationships. This movie has a happy ending. But that’s Hollywood, not real life.
August 19, 2010
Here’s some signs that you might be a love saboteur:
- Your parents had a turbulent relationship.
- You are a survivor of assault or abuse.
- You have a personality disorder like BPD or NPD.
- You are sensitive to emotional triggers.
- Fear is a big motivator in your life.
- You go out of your way to avoid being emotionally hurt.
- You bottle stuff up until it explodes out of nowhere.
- You have repressed anger, guilt, and shame from the past.
- You have a history of substance abuse and other self-destructive behaviors.
- You only enjoy sex if the person is emotionally unavailable.
- You’re hyper-sensitive to criticism and prone to moodiness.
- You have a history of seeking out abusive or flawed relationships.
- When you stumble upon a promising relationship, you get cold feet.
- You gravitate towards people with troubled pasts and troubled relationships.
- Past lovers have cheated on you or betrayed your trust.
- Break ups send you into a panic attack.
- You’re afraid of being alone/You’re afraid of being consumed by a relationship
- Your close friends and family have a hard time believing you, when you say you’re in love.
- You have engaged in acts of infidelity and indiscretion.
- You get jealous and insecure as the relationship gets more serious.
- You devalue or over-criticize your partners when things get serious.
- You take your partner for granted or feel bored after a partner gives themselves to you.
- Intimacy makes you feel insecure and then suffocated.
- You tend to pick fights towards the end of a relationship
- When a partner doesn’t give you the space you need, you become hostile.
- You avoid talking about problems.
- You expect your partner to be able to read your mind
- You’re fine going to bed angry.
- You jump from one broken relationship to another, preferring a fresh start to working things out.
The more of these signs you exhibit, the more likely it is that you fear intimacy. You may think that is absurd, because there are times when you crave intimacy. But this is the paradox- People who fear intimacy yearn for closeness. But once they achieve it, they freak out. Once a relationship gets serious, your fears of abandonment, betrayal, and rejection kick in and cause you to destroy the relationship before it destroys you. Don’t expect to find true love, until you are ready to accept true love.
August 3, 2010
When a Borderline runs away from a relationship they will often complain about feeling suffocated, complain about a lack of trust, lack of boundaries, lack of control, lack of space, etc. But what they are really saying is “I need emotional distance to protect myself and avoid feelings of abandonment”. They will do anything to create this distance.- They will push and shove, they will devalue a partner and sabotage the relationship, they will numb their feelings for you, they will engage in acts of infidelity, they will even shut you out. Anything to create an emotional buffer zone. Anything to prevent emotional pain, a pain the BP feels much more intensely than the rest of the population.
Originally, I was just going to provide a link to the post below. But since I couldn’t have said it better myself, I thought it would be easier to just post it in its entirety:
Do those with borderline personality disorder fear intimacy?
This is a question that is often brought up by our members at BPDfamily.com, the support website for those with a borderline personality disorder spouse, parent, child or other loved one.
Our members often wonder: If someone with borderline personality disorder so fears intimacy, then why do they often cling so strongly and/or refuse to let their loved one out of their sight? And if they so fear abandonment, then why do they run away from their partners?
These behaviors are often two sides of the same coin, as we discuss on our forums.
Staff member JoannaK writes:
Fear of intimacy alternates with fear of abandonment in many (most?) with bpd. “Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment” may mean “running away first“. You may hear of the “engulfment/abandonment swing.”
SuddenlySense, now serving as one of our Ambassadors, ponders:
I think the fear of abandonment is so intense in BP’s that they can’t bear to get too close because that would make the pain even more intense if they were abandoned. Does this make any sense?
Yes, SS, that makes a lot of sense!
Schwing, another Ambassador responds to a question on the same thread:
You are assuming that someone shouldn’t fear abandonment unless abandonment is somewhat imminent. That someone (like your BPD partner) shouldn’t fear abandonment from their partner when their partner has demonstrated a complete devotion to them (as I’m sure your BPD partner demanded of you). But that would assume that their fear is reasonable. Someone with BPD has an unreasonable fear of abandonment. They will fear real and IMAGINED abandonment. And the only way they can be abandoned is if they allow real intimacy to take place. This is why they make the connection of intimacy = abandonment. And this is why they trust you less the more they become intimate with you.
Staff member (and Site Director) Skip provides this insight:
I think many people fear intimacy… and for this same reason…. rejection sensitivity.
People with BPD are impulsive (emotionally immature) and have a high level of rejection sensitivity.
What often makes it complicated for us to understand is that someone with BPD wants the intimacy and fears it at the same time. They can prematurely (immaturely) get into intimate situations, but when they don’t perceive a commensurate response in the partner, they get spooked.
This is further complicated because the “post honeymoon” phase in most relationships is a time each person in the couple define their own space and boundaries… this can be traumatic in any relationship… far more to a person with BPD.
You can read all of this discussion at Do those with Borderline Personality Disorder fear intimacy?
You will find much more information, many posts and stories about this aspect of a relationship with someone with borderline personality disorder at BPDfamily.com, the website for those with a loved one with borderline personality disorder.
July 18, 2010
One woman tells of how she pushed men out of her life and talks about why she did it. She talks about expectations that were too high and how she ultimately didn’t feel like she deserved to be loved. She talks about caring too much in the beginning and feeling robbed in the end. She talks about the long line of people she has left in her wake. And talks about the day she finally woke up.