Think my ex had Borderline Personality Disorder
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Old 03-09-2012, 04:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Think my ex had Borderline Personality Disorder

I've probably been thinking of this way too much, in fact I know I have. But when something so significant happens so suddenly you are left searching for the hows and whys. I've thought for a long time she had issues within her that made our relationship harder than it needed to be. I contributed no doubt to the difficulty at times, but the way she acted sometimes was beyond comprehension.

In reading about Borderline Personality Disorder I saw that she fit all the diagnostic criteria almost perfectly. It was eery reading and seeing the description describe my ex almost exactly. A predisposing factor is childhood physical or sexual abuse, and yes my ex was sexually molested as a child.

I don't know if she'll ever be truly diagnosed because I doubt her pride would ever allow her to see a psychiatrist, but I lived with her for 6 years and I'm convinced she has a disorder and quite possibly BPD. It doesn't change the ultimate outcome of our relationship, but it does help me understand some of her odd ways of dealing with conflict and interpersonal relationships. Or maybe I'm just rationalizing and she just didn't like me. But I feel like this helps me understand why living with her was so difficult, and when I thought things were fine she thought they were so terribly wrong.

Do any of you have any experiences living with a person with Borderline Personality Disorder?
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Think my ex had Borderline Personality Disorder

Do you have examples of the times that you thought everything was fine and she was very deeply upset? It's interesting to me that you say that you understand her behavior, but your understanding seems a little dismissive. I don't mean to be offensive and I haven't read your story, but many people want to blame a personality disorder when something seriously wrong happens and it keeps both sides from figuring out where the real problems were, which leaves people vulnerable to the same kind of pain in the future. So...can you give an example of something like that that would lead you to believe she has BPD rather than that there was another explanation? Just curious...
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Think my ex had Borderline Personality Disorder

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Do any of you have any experiences living with a person with Borderline Personality Disorder?
Yes, TalkItOut, I lived with my BPDer exW for 15 years, during which time I took her to weekly visits with six different psychologists. As with your Ex, she had been sexually abused during childhood. From what I've read, it is typical for BPDers to walk away after about 12-15 years because, as the years go by, they become increasingly resentful of your inability to make them happy -- an impossible task.

If you would like to read about my experiences with my BPDer exW -- and those of Maybe with his unstable W -- please read my post in Maybe's thread at My list of hell!. If that discussion rings a bell, I would be happy to discuss it with you and point you to excellent online resources about BPD traits. Take care, TalkItOut.
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, TalkItOut, I lived with my BPDer exW for 15 years, during which time I took her to weekly visits with six different psychologists. As with your Ex, she had been sexually abused during childhood. From what I've read, it is typical for BPDers to walk away after about 12-15 years because, as the years go by, they become increasingly resentful of your inability to make them happy -- an impossible task.

If you would like to read about my experiences with my BPDer exW -- and those of Maybe with his unstable W -- please read my post in Maybe's thread at My list of hell!. If that discussion rings a bell, I would be happy to discuss it with you and point you to excellent online resources about BPD traits. Take care, TalkItOut.
Your post was amazing, so much information and examples. I have a question....

How does a person tell the difference between someone who is emotionally/verbally abusive, and someone who has BPD traits. I used to think I was crazy because my H used to spin things around to make it my fault, or change what I had said.

For instance....after having an arguement with my son's daycare teacher, and intimidating her, he then said "I don't know why she doesn't like me, she's always complained about you". When asking her myself if she had any issues with me in a very non-threatening and diplomatic manner (knowing he was lying, but no really sure...that crazy feeling), she responded in shock and said she had never said such a thing, and began to cry, and couldn't understand why he would lie.

Another example...We used to have Summer parties in our back yard every year. Last Summer after we had one of our arguements, he said to me "your friends even think you are controling, and have asked me how I put up with it". Of course my friends were floored by this, and would never say such a thing.

So is this emotional abuse or BPD? and if it's BPD, what happens with these people? treatment???
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Think my ex had Borderline Personality Disorder

WorkingTogether, thanks for the kind words. I am glad to hear you found the BPD information helpful.
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How does a person tell the difference between someone who is emotionally/verbally abusive, and someone who has BPD traits?
Whereas verbal abuse is simply one behavioral trait, BPD is a collection of traits (i.e., symptoms) that tend to be seen occurring together. Likewise, the other nine personality disorders (PDs) are merely groups of dysfunctional symptoms that are often seen occurring together. The psychiatric community created these groupings because they learned, decades ago, you can increase your understanding of human behavior a hundred-fold by examining a collection of behavioral traits together -- instead of looking at them individually in isolation.

Strong verbal abuse, for example, is a trait that is primarily associated with BPD, Narcissistic PD, Antisocial PD, PTSD, a hormone change, adult ADHD, drug use, and a recent brain injury. Verbal abuse therefore can be indicative of a wide range of problems -- some of which are easily treated and others of which would take many years of intensive, weekly therapy.

Hence, to understand what abuse means to your marriage, it is important to see what other traits and circumstances are occurring. For example, did the person recently start using drugs? Did he recently get a blow to the head in a traffic accident? Did she just give birth to a child? Does he exhibit most of the traits of any PD at a strong level? Depending on the answers to questions like those, you may find that the marriage is or is not salvageable. This is why I don't find it useful when someone writes "She is an abuser, pure and simple -- end of story."

I nonetheless would agree that, regardless of the cause, you should hold the abuser fully accountable for his own behavior. This means you should establish strong personal boundaries that are enforced by walking out if he or she violates them.
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I used to think I was crazy because my H used to spin things around to make it my fault, or change what I had said.
As I explained in the post you read, that "crazy making" behavior is called "gaslighting." Significantly, of the ten PDs, BPD is the only one that is notorious for making the nonBPD partner feel like she may be losing her mind.
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So is this emotional abuse or BPD? and if it's BPD, what happens with these people? treatment???
The two examples you gave sound like emotional abuse. As I explained above, most of the nine BPD traits would have to be present -- and persistent for many years -- for the behavior to be described as being a pattern of strong BPD traits.

As to treatment, yes, there are excellent treatment programs available in every developed country. Sadly, however, it is rare for a high functioning BPDer to have the self awareness and ego strength to stay in therapy long enough to make a difference. Instead, they usually choose to protect their fragile egos from seeing too much of reality by hiding behind the false self image of always being "the victim."
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Think my ex had Borderline Personality Disorder

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Originally Posted by working_together View Post
Your post was amazing, so much information and examples. I have a question....

How does a person tell the difference between someone who is emotionally/verbally abusive, and someone who has BPD traits. I used to think I was crazy because my H used to spin things around to make it my fault, or change what I had said.

For instance....after having an arguement with my son's daycare teacher, and intimidating her, he then said "I don't know why she doesn't like me, she's always complained about you". When asking her myself if she had any issues with me in a very non-threatening and diplomatic manner (knowing he was lying, but no really sure...that crazy feeling), she responded in shock and said she had never said such a thing, and began to cry, and couldn't understand why he would lie.

Another example...We used to have Summer parties in our back yard every year. Last Summer after we had one of our arguements, he said to me "your friends even think you are controling, and have asked me how I put up with it". Of course my friends were floored by this, and would never say such a thing.

So is this emotional abuse or BPD? and if it's BPD, what happens with these people? treatment???
That sounds to me like mental illness. In those instances, it sounds like his perception isn't matching that of those around him. That doesn't sound abusive....that is, he's not berating you or putting you down, but it does sound troubling. It doesn't sound intentional, which is why I don't see it as abusive. But then, I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the word "abuse" in my own relationship so....you're not alone in feeling lost in the grey zone!

Last edited by desert-rose; 03-12-2012 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Think my ex had Borderline Personality Disorder

Yeah, I am divorcing one of these currently.

The best part of a BPD'er is the unwillingness to EVER forgive you.

I have been blamed for the following

- Her stretch marks (Should of fed her better when pregnant)

- Her feeling isolated (She isolated herself from everyone but me and when I did not measure up the resentment started)

- IVF (Both have issues, she never had a period)

- Her lack of personal growth
(Disowned all her friends, has no close friends, but one that lives 2 hours away. I was responsible for her growing as a person and all of her happiness. I could not do it and I tried so very hard.)

- Her lack of sleep
(Let me hit on this here. When she was pregnant, she couldn't sleep. Kicked me out of the bed. I slept in the other room. Then weeks later she cried and said I never slept with her anymore and didn't cuddle her and the baby. She said she didn't want me to cuddle her because she got to hot before then. Now, I neglected her the entire pregnancy because of this. She re-wrote the past to make me ALL black as usual.)

I have been hit, called everything under the sun, holes kicked in the wall. You name it.

I would have stayed with her forever too. Now she is leaving for another guy that she dated in the past. Is already talking about him being here a long long time. He will not measure up after a while and she will be back to square one.


The problem is, I know what I am dealing with. I know her childhood caused this and I know how a BDP'er makes you feel completely insane. I am nothing more than a father figure to her. When it storms she cries. When she is hungry and doesn't get food, she cries. She reverts back to a child INSTANTLY and it has scared the hell out of me for years.

The problem with these type's of people is that you never know how they are until its to late. They are soooo good at hiding it at first and when it comes out you are usually already married.

They mirror you at the beginning and trick you into thinking that they are your soul mate.

Now, I am so damn messed up from this, that I do not know how to even tell in the future if I am dating one again. I think this is normal behavior and after being blamed for everything for so long you start to think it is all your fault. I am going to need counseling eventually, I know it.


One last thing. The lack of empathy. They project there feelings onto you. You are not allowed to be upset about a divorce because they are not upset. If you get upset, they will explode and break things or you, because they do not want to feel the pain you are feeling. The anger is so intense sometimes.

Me, I am laid back and a caregiver. Luckily, her resentment built up so fast for me that I am getting out now. I think the IVF and the fertility issues culminated the entire process.

I am rambling, but the confusion from all of this is gut wrenching.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Think my ex had Borderline Personality Disorder

I think my ex was more of a narcisstic, I read more about it, they are similar though.

The thing that makes me ill sometimes is that I know my ex is going to do this to his g/f and I can't do anything about it, she'll never know what hits her.

or

Maybe he'll change completely...who knows
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Mine had a PD. Diagnosed. Not fun to deal with. Highs-lows-really lows. However, she didn't fit all of the criteria. It was strange. I am sorry to anyone that has a partner with a PD not under treatment.
I know at times I may have made it worse, but I knew what the problem was.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure my ex had BPD. What's weird is how he projects everything he feels onto me so much that I had a hard time parsing out what I felt versus what he felt, to where I became more and more BPDish myself. I do struggle with being high strung and emotional, normally, but in every other aspect of my life it's under control, but with him, and his constant gaslighting I guess it is called, and verbal abuse and the delusional world he lived in where he was the hapless victim and I the screaming hag, I just sort of lost control of myself. It was scary and shameful, and now looking back I can see that I was in a tremendous amount of pain and conflict and wouldn't allow myself to face it.

It seemed easier to believe his constant berating and blaming and that somehow I was a monster and the crazy one. But the facts don't back that up, which I have been forced to face, and in facing it, finally, and confronting him, I lost him. In a way it's good riddance, but it's also the end of everything in my life, pretty much.
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Old 03-15-2012, 03:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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sounds very much like my wife. Even now, after 4 months seperated. My sons and I are enjoying the lack of drama. Every time she calls, or comes around for something, it starts back up again. I had never noticed it before our seperation, because I had slowly become used to it. I never noticed the slow erosion of my self esteem and pride. I had gotten acustomed to everything being my fault. It was a 21 year slide to full blown codependancy. My eyes(ears) are wide open now. My self esteem is slowly coming back, and my sons are now doing very well in school. I know as soon as i file, the worst is yet to come. But, I am enjoying my regaining sence of confidence in my self, and i see it in my children
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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WOW this really helps here is my story:

Here is my story I married the most wonderful beautiful woman I could ever dream of getting we fell crazy for each other it was to good to be true, as they say. we were just in relationship bliss she was the one who popped the question and got married after 2 months of dating. I felt so alive and thought I had found the one. about 2 weeks into the marriage we had an argument about some trivial thing which escalated into her blurring out foul language calling me several things and engaging me right in my face like a tough guy street brawler would. I reacted shocked and being a short fuse myself i also became irritaded and lashed out at her verbally however to my suprise she reacted with a right hook to my jaw. i had never expierenced something like this in any relationship. After that she made it look like it was all my fault and I had pushed her to her limits. being a sucker for forgive meīs I did ask for an apology and took the blame in order to move forward.This was my first glance of what was to come in our 2 year marriage. i studied Psych. and I knew something was wrong with her many a time I thought could it be depression, bipolar or was it really me? I begged for her to go and get help she would always reply: I dont need help I just need you to be more understanding and give me my space!

I put myself in positions were i was manipulated into taking faults, I went to jail two times due to her violent outbursts that were twisted around to make it seem that i had been at fault.(I had never experienced being arrested or do i have any type of record) I was controled to the point that I had to break contact with really good friends, even visitng my mom was wrong because as she stated i had no buisness going there during the week when I had a home to come to and I must have some unresolved mommy issue.

I experienced a fit were she changed her mood about 5 or 6 times in a space of less than an hour over going to a neighbors wedding. I took the blame for many things just to go forward with our life and started to avoid certain topics, avoid bringing up previous arguments, which was very easy for her, my opinions and my advice became obsolete and idiotic and she was always right. I was physically abused by my wife many a time kicks, punches things thrown at me the last thing she did was she slammed my car keys in my face and produced a big gash, a lot of blood gushed out to her reply: thatīs what you get when you piss me off! sorry! and left the scene and locked herself in our room.

I was always uneasy and was scared of mentioning something that would set her off and I had this gut feeling that she was seing someone else however when i brought it up she would say it was probably me who was cheating and I was projecting my own guilt. there were times when I would call her from work and she would not answer, text and nothing she would call me back after many hours saying why the hell are you checking up on me? or we just talked in the morning? however when i did not txt or call in a day she would also become very upset as well.

I became very distrustful because I have had other relationships where you get the:I just wanted to hear you, or I couldnīt wait to talk to you or the txt saying howīs your day going? After a while I would leave the house after an argument just to avoid the chaos and when i came back all hell would break loose because I had left and had to explain where I had been (almost always with a friend or family) and was accused to have been cheating on her with my female friends that she hated without actually knowing them because she despised the idea of me having female friends because as she said i was married and she didnīt approve of me seeing other women even if they were only friends.

One of her female friends (one of two that I actually ever met) who was our witness at our wedding became very close to me and often would give me little bits of info here and there about my wife called me on the phone to say hi and see how i was doing (I had made her aware of what was going on with my wife) The next day my wife was just frantic and going crazy saying how dare you? what the hell is going on? she had gone through my phone and saw that she had dialed, let me tell you it took about 2 weeks for the dust to settle on that one and she cut off all contact with her friend. when I wanted to talk about it she said it had been my fault because I should have never gotten close to any of her friends(What friends? never met anyone else) Just recently she accused me of cheating and said well go ahead and
f.... whoever you want just like you f....... my friend. wow!

another hard one to deal with was we had this argument and her sister was coming over the argument escalated and she was screamming and pushing me, when i said you know what im outa here her sister was sitting there with her jaw to the floor she said i cant be in the midle of this and my wife chased after saying: Now you see how this Idiot is ruining my life? I immediately jumped in sis in laws, car my wife was paralyzed with anger from my reaction and screamed: Get out of the car and leave my family alone! to which my sister in law reacted: Please the neighbors are gonna call the police! to this day the face that my wife produced that second was... the only thing I can describe is possessed and at the top of her lung screamed at her sister GO F....
YOURSELF TOO! and stormed into the house her sister was shatered and said I have to go i said to her please tell me im not crazy and she said you have been always right, let me go and come to my house in about 20 I dashed in the house and my wife was crying and tried to pick up the fight, she said see what you made me do? I ignored her and left quik. I went to my sis in laws house to find her devastated.
to this day mi wife and her sister do not speak to each other
my wife tried calling her a couple of times with no success
however her sister tried talking to her after a month my wife did not answer stating: Oh now she wants to talk well f..... her
This is just very very sad.

My parents started noticing my stress and would often ask me are you okay? you seem unhappy I have hidden all of these things from them because they are very old and i donīt want to cause them any health problems.Iīts been very painful for me to engage relatives when they ask me what happened? you seem like you got along so good or the give her time things will work out. I left my very comfortable house with brand new everything into a small apartment with only my clothes and some things I was able to take.

The saddest thing is she has a 6 year old daughter from a previous relationship and she has been witness to many arguments because my wife used her as a shield. I found out through her family members recently that the father is a really decent guy and lived the same situation before he called it quits, when my wife spoke of him as being the most unfaithful, cheating and abusive person ever, should I reach out to him to cope? dunno.

before I met her I was very confident, felt good about myself, was quite the charmer worked out constantly and I have always been a hard worker and pretty good at what I do I was just plain happy. today after 2 months of being separated (due to her not being able to put up with me being so aprehensive and so uncaring and loving as she stated) I feel like these two years have been a true waste of time, energy and emotionally draining. My wife has not been formaly diagnosed since she hates the idea of getting therapy she believes people who need therapy are weak minded however I have been going to therapy with one of my professors from school and after much soul searching and going through the specifics, her family background, reactions, symptoms and recordings i have done of her when we had recent arguments over the dreaded divorce my therapist has indicated it is more than likely she has BPD. the proof is so overwhelming and personaly it just makes sense!

A month ago I asked her to go through the divorce I had set the date and time and she didnīt show up I called and had no answer it wasnīt until the next day her excuse was she had an issue at her daughterīs school however later said she still cared for me and wanted not to work things out but to allow her time to reconcile her feelings on the issue. I have researched so much on improving the relationship and steps on getting resolve so we went out on dates and I would always end up with no resolution and just a bad feeling all around. everytime I would bring up our situation she would say: please! we have been through this, I will not go around in circles, I have told you how I feel and what needs to be said has been said! itīs just damn painful.
I even wrote her a sincere apology letter a few days ago and gave her a beautiful bouquet of roses to see if I could reach out to her, this was Friday, she seemed grateful and understanding and Saturday when we went out she displayed a complete apathy toward what had ocurred the previous day I learned her grandmother was ill so on sunday decided to pay her a visit. To my shock and utter disappointment my wife had given her grandmother the bouquet i had just given her on Friday. this is just too much for me to bear, to me this just doesnīt seem rational behaviour it is very hurtful and painful and if this BPD I feel very sorry for my wife, I truly love her however we do not have children or property that can tie us down, her family members are unaware of this disorder but have expressed all the simptoms of abuse from her and they think that she is just childish and inmature, after this weekend I confronted her and after several hang ups and verbal abuse I told her that i would pay for the divorce and get this done she said yes and that she agrees, I am just so tired and drained! I love her dearly however after 2 years of feeling at fault of being lied too, feeling like a fool I donīt believe I have the inclination to put myself through this any longer (am i being a jerk?) and as much time, effort and emotion I invested in the relationship the uncertainty of her taking a first step towards recovery based on her condition is just too much… I understand this is a disorder however I feel like I am not the one who will help her.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Think my ex had Borderline Personality Disorder

Ivan, welcome to the TAM forum. I'm glad to hear you found the BPD information helpful.
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...the uncertainty of her taking a first step towards recovery
Calling it an "uncertainty" is a great understatement. Although excellent treatment programs are available, it is rare for a high functioning BPDer to have the self awareness and ego strength to be willing to seek therapy and stay with it. Therapist Shari Schreiber says you have a greater chance flying to the moon strapped to a banana than ever seeing a BPDer stay in therapy long enough to make a difference. "Long enough" usually means several years of weekly therapy.

If your W is unwilling to seek therapy on her own volition, you are taking a great risk to insist on her doing it as a condition of your remaining in the marriage. That's what I did, to my great regret. My exW agreed to the condition. The result is that I spent over $200,000 taking her to weekly visits with six different psychologists for 15 years -- all to no avail. If a BPDer doesn't want to work on her issues -- and very few do -- she will simply play mind games with the therapists.

What typically happens, if you make the mistake of following my path and staying with her, is that a BPDer will walk out on YOU after 12 to 15 years. As each year goes by, a BPDer grows increasingly resentful that you are failing to make her happy or fix her. She also will become more fearful of abandonment as she watches her body age. The likely result, then, is that you will end up searching for a new wife when you are in your 40's or 50's. IMO, it is better to do that now.
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I feel like I am not the one who will help her.
Again, that is a gross understatement. You not only are "not helping her" but likely are HARMING her by staying. I say this because the only way a BPDer will tolerate your staying is for you to continue walking on eggshells, i.e., being the doormat you've been for the past two years. This enabling behavior harms her because, by sheltering her from the logical consequences of her childish behavior, you are destroying her only opportunity to confront her issues and learn how to manage them.

If your W is a BPDer, she has the emotional development of a four year old. Hence, like any young child, she will not grow up if there is an adult around who will protect her from her own bad decisions. Once you stop being her "soothing object," for example, she will have a powerful incentive to learn how to do self soothing -- a skill the rest of us learned in childhood.
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I went to jail two times due to her violent outbursts that were twisted around to make it seem that i had been at fault.
Welcome to the crowd. I would not be surprised if at least a third of the men arrested for wife-beating are the victims of vindictive BPDers. At the end of my 15 years with my exW, she was in a terrible rage and chased me room to room -- at which point I retreated behind an unlocked bedroom door. When she started to destroy that door, I reflexively reached out and shoved her away from the door -- whereupon she tripped and fell to the floor.

She called the police and had me thrown into jail. Because it occurred early on a Saturday morning, I was in jail 3 days before I could go before a judge and be arraigned. That was plenty of time for my exW to obtain a restraining order barring me from my own home for the 18 months it takes to process a divorce in this State.
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Am i being a jerk?
No, your decision to divorce her is evidence that you've stopped being a doormat and have started building your personal boundaries to a healthy level. I have several suggestions for anyone divorcing a BPDer.

The first is to read Splitting: Protecting Yourself when Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist. It was released only 8 months ago by the same author who wrote the #1 best selling BPD book, Stop Walking on Eggshells.

My second suggestion is that, in addition to participating here on the TAM forum, you start participating (or at least lurking) at the "Leaving" message board at BPDfamily.com. It is the most active BPD forum I've found and is growing at the rate of 20 new members a day. It is targeted solely to the partners and family members of BPDers, not to the BPDers themselves. Consequently, the hundreds of folks in that message board are facing the same problems as you and can give you many useful tips.

Third, I suggest you take advantage of the excellent resources in the "Articles" section there. My favorite is Article 9 at T9 Surviving a Break-up with Someone Suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder - Columbia University, New York. Finally, if you have not had time to follow the link I provided above, I suggest you read my post in Maybe's thread at My list of hell!. Take care, Ivan.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:39 PM   #14 (permalink)
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BPD will most likely be replaced in the new diagnostic manual with PTSD. In fact a lot of "disorders" will be replaced by PTSD. Neuro science has disproven the notion of the chemical imbalance and is proving the repeated trauma and stress, especially early childhood trauma has lasting and serious affects well into adulthood.

If you love your husband, don't give up on him, get him to a good therapist.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Think my ex had Borderline Personality Disorder

I'm sorry, I read that wrong. If you love your spouse, please get a good therapist.
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