Originally Posted by blessedDaddy
She told me that Im crazy and I need help, that I have a disorder called Crazy starter.... She has me every now and then believing Im the crazy one.
This attempt to control you through confusion is such a well-known hallmark of BPDers that the ex-partners have given it a name known on dozens of websites: "gaslighting." It is named after the classic 1944 movie, Gaslight,
in which a husband (Charles Boyer) tries to drive his new bride (Ingrid Bergman) crazy so as to get her institutionalized, allowing him to run off with her family jewels. One of his many tricks is to turn the house gas lights down a tiny bit every day -- all the while claiming that he sees and reads just fine.
Of the several dozen mental disorders listed in the diagnostic manual, BPD is the ONLY ONE that is notorious for making the spouses and partners feel like they may be going crazy. Women living with a sociopath or narcissist, for example, will be miserable and depressed. But they typically will not feel like they may be losing their minds. That "crazy making" behavior -- i.e., the gaslighting -- is only characteristic of BPD.
So was I. It would be more accurate to say, however, that you and I are "excessive caregivers" (commonly called "codependent" by laymen). Other than narcissists, we excessive caregivers are about the only people who will spend years living with a BPDer. The folks with strong personal boundaries walk away right after the passionate honeymoon period ends and the verbal abuse starts.
She never has time for the kids. Either she is acting like their best friends or screaming at them.
This is not surprising because anyone with strong BPD traits has the emotional development of a four year old. Many high functioning BPDers nonetheless do well with raising children when they are young -- but do far less well when the child gets old enough to have a mind of his own. Due to her great fear of abandonment and hatred of being alone, a BPDer tends to be controlling of every aspect of her loved ones' lives.
She hates their boyfriends or girlfriends, says horrible things about everyone.
That likely reflects her fear of abandonment and the resulting need to control her loved ones. Of course, they are much easier to control if she can isolate them from all friends and family members who otherwise would be supportive of them.
That behavior also exhibits her black-white thinking, a hallmark of persons having strong BPD traits. This all-or-nothing thinking will show up as her claiming you "never" or "always" do such and such. It also is evident in the way she categorizes everyone as "all good" or "all bad." Moreover, she will recategorize someone from one polar extreme to the other -- in only ten seconds -- based only on an innocuous remark or minor infraction.
B-W thinking occurs in BPDers because they are extremely uncomfortable with ambiguities mixed feelings and uncertainty. And, of course, they cannot tolerate "cognitive dissonance," i.e., where one part of your mind believes something contradicting what is believed in another part of your mind. A BPDer therefore shoehorns her perceptions of other peoples' intentions and motivations into a B-W dichotomy -- not seeing that real people live in the gray area in between those polar extremes.
This is why strong BPD traits are said to constitute a "thought distortion." This is true to a lesser degree, by the way, for all of us. Every time you get intense feelings (e.g., infatuation or anger) your judgement of other peoples' intentions becomes distorted by those feelings. Indeed, this has happened to you so many hundreds of times that, by high school, you already knew you could not trust your own judgment when you are very angry (or infatuated or drunk).
That is why we all try to wait until we have time to cool off before making decisions or taking actions. BPDers, however, generally are unaware the distortion is occurring and, even when they are, usually will act on those distorted perceptions because -- like a young child -- they lack impulse control.
She had a bad sexual experience at 12 years old and a few times a year talks about it like it was yesterday.
If she has strong BPD traits, the bulk of the damage to her emotional core likely happened before age five. When a trauma occurs that early, it prevents her from developing a strong integrated self image. And it stops her emotional development, leaving her stuck with the ego defenses and emotional development of a four year old.
This could explain, then, why you are seeing a woman who does not know who she really is and, as a consequence, looks to others to provide clues as to how she should be acting. This means you likely will see her behaving differently around different types of people -- thus being able to fit in with a wide variety of different people.
Whats your advice, we own lots of stuff and have a son.
My usual advice, when a spouse with strong BPD traits refuses to start treatment and stay with it, is to divorce. Otherwise, you will be harming both of you.
You will be harming her by enabling her childish selfish behavior to continue -- allowing her to GET AWAY WITH IT. It is harmful to her because you likely are destroying her only chance to confront her own issues and learn to manage them. For that to happen, she must be allowed to suffer the logical consequences of her own bad behavior. Otherwise, she will never "grow up."
Yet, because you have a 3 year old son, I do not give that advice. When young children are involved, I always advise the spouses to do what is in the best interests of their children. That said, given that she is not a good mother, I nonetheless am inclined to agree with Shaggy and your parents that you should walk away and sue for 50% of the business and home. But, of course, you are best positioned to know what is best for your young son.
I do have several more specific suggestions to offer. As an initial matter, if you suspect your W has strong BPD traits, I recommend that you NOT tell her. If she is a BPDer, she almost certainly will project the accusation right back onto you, believing YOU to be the BPDer. Instead, simply encourage her to see a good psychologist (not a MC) and let the psych decide what to tell her.
Second, if you think you may stay with her a while, I suggest you get Stop Walking on Eggshells,
the best-selling BPD book targeted to spouses like you. Or, if you are decided to get a divorce instead, get Splitting: Protecting Yourself when Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist.
Both books are written by the same author.
Third, I suggest you start participating (or at least lurking) at BPDfamily.com -- the largest and most active BPD forum I've found that is devoted fully to the spouses and family members of BPDers. This issue is such an enormous problem that that website is growing by 20 new members every day. The result is that it offers eight separate message boards on various BPD issues. The ones that likely will be most helpful to you are the "Staying" board, "Leaving" board, and "Raising a Child when One Parent Has BPD."
Fourth, while you are at BPDfamily.com, I suggest you read the excellent articles in their resources section. My favorite is "Surviving a Breakup with Someone with BPD" at T9 Surviving a Break-up with Someone Suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder - Columbia University, New York
Fifth, I suggest you see a clinical psychologist -- for a visit or two by yourself
-- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is you are dealing with -- and how likely it is she may pass it on to your son. As I've explained in many other threads, your best chance of getting a candid opinion regarding a possible BPD diagnosis is to NOT have the BPDer along. Therapists are loath to tell high functioning BPDers the name of the disorder.
Finally, Blessed, 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.