Omega, welcome to the TAM forum. I'm sorry to hear that your marriage has turned toxic so suddenly and that both of you are in so much pain.
On another thread I saw this list posted in another thread, I will highlight in bold the things I see from my wife.
Omega, I posted that list. Those 18 behavioral traits -- most of which you say you see in your W -- are traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). Indeed, nearly all of the behaviors you describe in your post -- e.g., the temper tantrums, suicide threats, and cutting -- are classic traits of BPD.
she has tried to cut her arm, When she doesnt get what she wants she bangs her head on the floor, wall, glass until there is a cut or bruise.
Cutting and self harm is strongly associated with BPD. A recent study (pub. 2004), for example, concludes that
The majority of those who self-mutilate are women with borderline personality disorder. This complex, maladaptive behavior is used by clients as a means of self-preservation and emotion regulation, and is often associated with childhood trauma. See Understanding those who se... [J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2004] - PubMed - NCBI.
She gets very violent, she has come at me with a knife.... she has destroyed almost every breakable albeit expensive item in our home.
Like cutting, physical attacks on the spouse also is strongly associated with BPD. A 1993 Canadian study found that nearly all of the spousal batterers had a personality disorder and half of them had full-blown BPD. See Roger Melton's summary of the study at Romeo's Bleeding - When Mr. Right Turns Out To Be Mr. Wrong -- Health & Wellness -- Sott.net
Instead of trying to comfort me or help me in anyway, she turns into the victim and finds something to yell at me about.
BPDers have such fragile and unstable egos that, to the extent they have any self image at all, it is of being "The Victim," always "The Victim." Hence, if your W has strong BPD traits, she will only tolerate your presence as long as you play one of two roles -- both of which will validate her false self image of being "The Victim."
One role, which you played during the courtship, is that of "The Savior." Of course, your being "The Savior" implies that she is a victim, i.e., a woman in need of being saved. That role went out the window, however, as soon as her infatuation over you evaporated. For the rest of all time, then, your only acceptable role is that of "The Perpetrator," i.e., the source of every misfortune to befall her. You therefore will be blamed for everything.
She screams at me she wants a divorce.... She demands me to leave, I have packed up several times and stayed with her family but then she calls them and says that 'my husband left me, he abandoned me' to them.
BPDers (i.e., those having strong BPD traits) hate to be alone because, given their very weak sense of who they are, they feel a strong need for someone to ground and center them -- giving them a sense of direction. At the same time, a BPDer has a strong need to make you "The Perpetrator" so as to validate her false self image. It therefore is common for a BPDer to push you away (saying that she hates you) and then to later pull you back into the toxic relationship. This is why the #2 best-selling BPD book (targeted to the abused spouses) is called I Hate You, Don't Leave Me.
She storms off in the car in a rage and says she will kill herself, then calls me over and over saying she will kill herself.
My BPDer exW did the same thing. Initially, she would walk to a nearby tall bridge, knowing I was following protectively behind her. When I stopped following, she stopped going to the bridge. Instead, she called me several times from the subway platform. She would say she was going to jump in front of the next train and then hang up. When I stopped running down to the subway station, she stopped doing that too.
If your W is a BPDer, she almost certainly is a high functioning one most of the time or you would not have dated her, much less marry her (the vast majority of BPDers are high functioning). I mention this because the low functioning BPDers are the ones at greatest risk of actually following through on a suicide threat. HF BPDers typically threaten suicide as a way of controlling the spouse.
That said, I nonetheless am concerned that your W has done cutting and head banging -- which typically are only done by a BPDer who is in severe pain and thus is low functioning. Hence, if your W is a BPDer, it sounds like she is HF most of the time but occasionally will become so depressed she becomes LF. It is common for HF BPDers to slip into a LF state when under great stress, as occurs during depression.
I am mentally and physically exhausted of chasing after her, when I dont bother to call her back right away (to let her cool down) she goes crazy and returns and tells me to leave.
Because BPDers have poor control over their emotions and impulses, they have never learned to do self soothing to calm themselves down. This is why they will chase you from room to room, insisting that the argument must be settled RIGHT THIS MOMENT. My exW was the same way.
My wife appears to have become a different person since marriage and it appears she has some kind of severe depression beyond anything I can deal with.
BPD usually is accompanied by frequent periods of anxiety or depression (both of which are "clinical disorders," not personality disorders). If she is a BPDer, there is a 25% chance of her also having bipolar-1 disorder (another clinical disorder). Significantly, clinical disorders are covered by insurance but the personality disorders usually are not.
Hence, if your W gets diagnosed by a therapist, she will be told about the depression and anxiety and bipolar -- but likely will not be told about the BPD even if she has the full-blown disorder. Nor will you be told. In addition to the insurance consideration, there are several other important reasons why a BPD diagnosis is typically withheld from the HF BPDer and her spouse. If you are interested in those reasons, please see my post in COguy's thread at It's official, I'm getting divorced
On our honeymoon she stormed off on me several times in a foreign place.
With BPDers, the very WORST fights usually occur during or immediately following the very BEST of times. My exW, for example, created a fight the day after we were married, while we were staying in a beautiful resort on Maui. Likewise, she would create fights on most of our other vacations too. The result was that, after the first year, I stopped taking her on expensive vacations.
One reason that BPDers have trouble with attachment is that they feel controlled and suffocated during intimacy. This happens because they have such fragile egos and such low personal boundaries that they feel like they are losing their identity -- evaporating into thin air -- when being intimate with a person having a strong personality. This is why it is common for a BPDer to push you away -- by starting a fight over nothing -- right after an intimate evening or a wonderful weekend spent together.
Her family have told me she had problems before but i never knew about this before the wedding.
That is typical of BPDer relationships. The courtship period is intense and passionate but the sex and relationship go off a cliff following the wedding. As hard as it is to believe, the BPDer will be just as surprised as you are. During the courtship period, her infatuation over you convinces her that you are her savior -- thereby holding her two great fears at bay.
As soon as the infatuation evaporates, however, her two fears (engulfment and abandonment) return. This means that you will start triggering a release of the hurt and anger she has been carrying inside since early childhood.
I called my parents and they told me to pack lite and just leave but I cant help but worry that I will be making a mistake.
Please listen to your parents. This time they are right, IMO.
I feel so betrayed and like I am being used.
If your W is a BPDer, much of what she told you during the courtship period was the result of her distorted perception, not betrayal. When she is "splitting you white," she is absolutely convinced you are the most wonderful thing to have ever happened to her. Likewise, when she is "splitting you black," she likely sincerely believes most of the outrageous allegations coming out of her mouth. This is the way emotionally unstable people behave. It is called "black-white thinking" and I explain it at the link I provide below.
As to your "being used," yes, that likely is very true. While she is splitting you black, her empathy disappears and she is only concerned about meeting her own needs. Moreover, a BPDer is incapable of appreciating your many sacrifices for more than a few days. With BPDers, it is usually "What have you done for me lately?"
Omega, I believe you should leave ASAP and file for D. If your W has strong BPD traits, you cannot fix her and, unless she gets several years of intensive treatment, her behavior will only get worse. Indeed, your continued presence in the home likely is harming her by enabling her to continue behaving like a four year old and get away with it. In that way, you are preventing her from having to confront her issues and learn how to manage them.
As hard as it is for you to believe, you are at great risk of being stabbed by the knife or being thrown into jail on a bogus charge -- if she is a BPDer. Because BPDers are convinced they are "The Victim," it is common for them to have their spouses arrested -- which is the ultimate validation of their status as the victim. My 15 year marriage, for example, ended with me being handcuffed in front of my grand daughter and neighbors and then spending three days in jail.
Yet, if you are still unwilling to leave your W, I and other members here at TAM will be glad to help you get to the point where you can. In that case, my first suggestion is that you see a clinical psychologist -- all by yourself for a visit or two -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is you are dealing with. As I explained, you cannot rely on a diagnosis given by a therapist who is seeing or treating your W.
I also suggest, while you are waiting for an appointment, that you read more about BPD traits so you can spot all the red flags. Of course, you won't be able to diagnose your W's issues. Only professionals can do that. You nonetheless will be able to spot the warning signs because there is nothing subtle about BPD traits such as suicide threats, temper tantrums, and verbal abuse.
An easy place to start reading about BPD traits is my description of them in my post in Maybe's thread at My list of hell!
. If that description rings many bells, I would be glad to discuss them with you and point you to good online resources. Take care, Omega.