, thanks again for the callout.
My wife has borderline personality disorder and generalized anxiety disorder which is struggled off and on finding the right meds to controlled it for the last 15 years according to her.
So sorry to hear that, Bubba. There are no meds that can treat BPD. Psychiatrists prescribe meds to BPDers only because the vast majority of them suffer from co-occurring "clinical" disorders that can be treated with meds. These include, e.g., the GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) you mention. The meds thus are prescribed to treat those co-occurring disorders, which may also include ADHD, PTSD, bipolar, or major depression.
If your W is diagnosed as having full-blown BPD, her chance of also suffering from GAD is 81% and her chance of suffering from bipolar-1 is 33%. On top of all that, she has a 72% of also having one or two other full-blown personality disorders such as narcissism (32% chance) and Paranoid PD (25% chance). See Table 3 at 2008 Study in JCP
We have 4 children 2 sets of twins who are 9 and 7 years old.
With respect to emotional
development, it would be more accurate to say you have 5 children with the youngest -- your wife -- having the emotional development of a 4 year old. Although the underlying cause of BPD is not yet proven, it results in a person's emotional development being frozen at that young age.
This means she never had an opportunity in childhood to learn basic emotional skills -- e.g., how to do self soothing, how to regulate her emotions, how to avoid black-white thinking, how to tolerate strong conflicting feelings, how to develop a strong stable self identity, and how to trust.
I have been with my wife for 13 years been married for almost 10 now.
Likewise, I was married to my BPDer exW for 15 years. Throughout that entire period, I took her to weekly sessions with 6 different psychologists and 3 MCs -- all to no avail. I spent a small fortune on therapy but, sadly, it did not make a dent in her BPD behavior.
In the 13 I've been with she has used her issues to win arguments and manipulate me knowing I want her to be happy.
Because BPDers are so fearful of abandonment and engulfment, they typically are extremely controlling. They may try to be "manipulating" but generally are not good at it. For manipulation to be successful, careful planning and flawless execution are required.
Like young children, BPDers generally are far too reactive and impulsive to be very good at either the planning or the execution. Instead, they tend to say or do something in reaction to whatever strong mood they are feeling at the moment. Hence, if you have been seeing strong occurrences of skillful manipulation, you likely have been seeing strong warning signs for narcissism -- in addition to the BPD.
I talked to her today and told I'm done with the childish behavior from her
Like I said, she likely has the emotional development of a 4 year old. This means she is fully reliant on the immature ego defenses available to a young child. These include projection (Suzy did it), black-white thinking, temper tantrums, magical thinking, denial, and verbal abuse.
Now till recently when not arguing we were a great couple.
That is the way emotionally unstable people are -- they are wonderful and fun when in a good mood and horrible when in a bad mood. Hence, a BPDer's problem is not being bad
but, rather, unstable
The result is that most BPDers are so wonderful during their good moods that they are very easy to fall in love with. Indeed, two of the world's most beloved women -- Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana -- both had full-blown BPD if their biographers are correct.
Last year in October she tried to kill herself by over dosing on my pain medication (I had knee replacement surgery) she spent 3 weeks in a mental hospital was cleared by the doctor there sent home. I asked her why and she said she did because she couldn't escape her fears something bad was going to happen.
Like your W and my exW, the vast majority of BPDers are "high functioning," which means they generally get along fine with casual friends, business associates, and total strangers. None of those people see her dark side because they pose no threat to a BPDer's two great fears, abandonment and engulfment. There is no close relationship that can be abandoned. And there is no intimacy to trigger the suffocating feeling of engulfment.
When under great stress, however, a high functioning BPDer can suffer a breakdown, as occurred with your W when she had to be committed. Similarly, my exW was committed once for about 2 weeks. When she was admitted to the psychiatric unit of the hospital, they placed her in the "rubber room" where I visited her.
My exW threatened suicide on numerous occasions. During a terrible fight, she would put her coat on and walk to a close-by tall bridge, knowing that I was following protectively behind her. When I stopped following her, she stopped going to the bridge.
Instead, she would go to the subway platform and call me when a train was rumbling by. She would claim that she was going to jump in front of the next train. Then she hung up. Of course, I ran down to the subway station -- on two occasions. When I stopped doing that, she stopped calling me from the subway.
Because I love her and seeing her in pain even self inflicted pain I don't know how to handle this.
Walking away from a BPDer is extremely painful because it feels like you're abandoning a sick young child who, despite her periodic tantrums, truly loves you. Yet, if your W is not working hard to fix herself in years of therapy, the only way she will tolerate you in the marriage is if you continue to walk on eggshells -- allowing her to behave like a spoiled young child -- and GET AWAY WITH IT.
That enabling behavior by you is harmful to your W because it is destroying her opportunities to have to confront her BPD issues and learn how to manage them -- a process that will take many years in the very unlikely event she works at it. I therefore offer several suggestions: First
, consult with a divorce attorney experienced in dealing with child custody cases against a very vindictive spouse. If your W is a BPDer, the divorce and custody battle likely be get very nasty very quickly. It would be prudent to supplement that advice with tips offered by the book, Splitting: Protecting Yourself while Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist
, start participating (or at least lurking) at BPDfamily.com, which offers eight separate message boards on various BPD issues. The ones that likely will be most helpful are the "Detaching from a Borderline"
board and "Co-Parenting after the Split"
, while you're at BPDfamily, read the articles: Surviving a Breakup with Someone Suffering with BPD
and Leaving a Partner with BPD
. At other websites, I recommend these online articles: Fathers Divorcing
, and High Risk Parenting
, and Pain of Breaking Up
, and Divorcing a Narcissist
, read an explanation of how we excessive caregivers get to be this way during our childhood. The best explanation I've found is Shari Schreiber's article, Do You Love to be Needed?
Schreiber argues that, due to childhood dynamics with parents, our desire to be needed
(for what we can do) FAR exceeds our desire to be loved
(for the men we already are). If you've been married to a BPDer for 10 years, you almost certainly are an excessive caregiver like me. Fifth
, familiarize yourself with the symptoms for BPD. This is important because studies on BPD heritability indicate that, when one parent has full-blown BPD, each child has roughly a 20% to 30% chance of developing it. (Those figures are weak approximations because the studies are based on very small sample sizes.)
If one of your children does develop BPD, the traits likely will start showing strongly in the early teens. Yet, because a large share of teens behave like full-blown BPDers (due to hormone surges), such behavior is not worrisome unless it persists beyond the age of 17.
An easy place to start reading is my list of 18 BPD Warning Signs
. If most sound very familiar, I would suggest you read my more detailed description of them at my posts in Maybe's Thread
. If that description rings any bells, I would be glad to join 3X
and the other respondents in discussing them with you. Finally
, please don't forget those of us on this TAM forum. We want to keep trying to answer your questions and providing emotional support as long as you find our shared experiences helpful. Moreover, by sharing your own experiences, you likely are helping numerous other members and lurkers. Indeed, your thread has already attracted nearly 350 views in just one day. Take care, Bubba.