Originally Posted by Jonny Be Confused View Post
From what you have experienced is it common for someone with BPD to lie about something like having an affair just to hurt you or could this fall in the self destructive symptom and actually have happened?
Yes, it could have happened. Because BPDers lack impulse control, they are more likely to cheat (and do drugs, spending binges, or other risky behavior) than a healthy person. This does not imply that most are cheaters, however. On the contrary, most BPDers don't do cheating, IME. Serial cheating is an NPD behavior, not a BPD behavior. Long answer:
Although BPD and NPD are called "disorders," nobody has yet proven what it is that causes any of the ten PDs. It therefore is not known whether they are caused by ten separate disorders or three separate disorders. Indeed, all ten PDs may be caused by the very same disorder.
Because the underlying disorders are not yet known, the APA's diagnostic manual (DSM-5) cannot describe anything about the disorders themselves. Instead, the DSM-5 only describes the behavioral symptoms exhibited by people having the unidentified underlying disorders.
It thus is common for a person exhibiting BPD symptoms to also exhibit strong symptoms of NPD or another PD together with one or two clinical disorders such as OCD, PTSD, bipolar, ADHD, depression, or anxiety. Hence, saying that a person exhibits both BPD and NPD is not like saying she has two diseases. Rather, it is like saying that she has an upset stomach and tiredness together with body aches and mild fever.
Although learning to spot these PD symptoms will tell you little or nothing about the underlying cause
of those symptoms, it still is extremely valuable to be able to spot these patterns of behavior. Once you know what set of behavioral symptoms you are dealing with, you unlock a world of information as to what type of distorted thinking gives rise to those specific patterns of behavior.
Whereas NPDers typically are very stable people, BPDers are emotionally unstable. Hence, your W's unstable behavior is a warning sign for BPD. Indeed, BPD is the only PD (of the 10 PDs) for which instability is a defining trait. Moreover, you describe a number of other BPD traits too. On the other hand, you also describe some NPD traits, as I discussed earlier.
As to your question of whether she would deliberately hurt you, she could easily do so if she were a full-blown narcissist. In that case, she would be incapable of loving you and would perceive of you as an object that is useful only as long as you continue to "validate" her false image of being the nearly perfect special person.
In contrast, a BPDer generally does not intend to deliberately hurt her partner. A BPDer is very reactive to perceived threats to her two fears, abandonment and engulfment. So, generally, a BPDer lashes out in rages -- like a young child -- when she feels very threatened. Her main intent is to protect herself from perceived harm, not to do deliberate harm.
That said, BPDers can be very destructive and harmful even though their intent is to defend themselves. Because they are too emotionally immature to handle strong conflicting feelings, they generally will split you white ("with them") or black ("against them"). While splitting you black, a BPDer's conscious mind is completely out of touch with the love feelings she has toward you. This is why BPDers are capable of being very vindictive and mean -- thus intending to do you deliberate harm -- whenever they have split you black and are in great pain themselves.
As to the lying, a narcissist or sociopath won't hesitate to do it if they figure they can get away with it. BPDers, on the other hand, typically lie only when you paint them into a corner and there is absolutely no other way for the BPDer to escape humiliation and shame.
Generally, BPDers don't have to lie to defend their fragile egos. The reason is that a BPDer's subconscious works 24/7 protecting her fragile ego from seeing too much of reality. It accomplishes this by projecting all hurtful thoughts of feelings onto YOU. Because that projection occurs entirely at the subconscious level, her conscious mind is convinced that those thoughts and feelings are actually coming from you.
My experience with my BPDer exW, for example, was that she truly believed nearly all the outrageous allegations coming out of her mouth. I did catch her on some lies, however, whenever she was in a corner and was desperate to avoid the shame of being caught doing the wrong thing. Yet, if I had seriously tried to separate those very few lies from all the outrageous projections, I would have driven myself crazy.
She came back and said that she went to a bar and went back to someones apartment and had sex with them. It made me pretty upset and after some tears and broken heart she said it wasn't true after a day or so of this, even today she says it never happened.
Like I said, if she is a BPDer, you likely would drive yourself crazy trying to separate the few lies from the multitude of false projections she believes in. In contrast, an NPDer would be far more likely to lie to you -- and to sleep well after having done so.
I think she is capable of love although I can see some similarity with the NPD traits as well.
If she is capable of love, she may exhibit moderate to strong NPD traits but is not a full-blown narcissist.
Just today I had mentioned that law in our state could force us to go through a 90 day period before finalizing a divorce and she just came home and said that I said I would force her to move out of the house during that period of time, it never ends.
If she is an NPDer, she likely is simply lying. If she is a BPDer, however, she likely is doing what is called "rewriting history" in her mind. As with a young child, a BPDer's perception of your intentions and recollection of what was said is largely dictated by whatever intense feeling she is experiencing at this moment in time. That is, the feeling is so intense that it distorts her perception of what was agreed to and what your motivations are.
I can't tell you how many hundreds of times my BPDer exW would agree to something -- or even beg for something -- and then disavow ever wanting it a week or two later. After she moved in with me, she told me several times about how she had loved playing the piano in high school and how it had such a calming effect on her.
So I surprised her by buying a $3,500 piano and having it delivered and set up before she got home. She was absolutely thrilled with it for two weeks. I eventually decided to sell it online, however, because she had played the piano only five times -- for a combined total of about three hours -- in three years. When I was selling it, she told me she never asked for the piano and never really wanted it. It was all my idea, she said. And she believed that nonsense.
Similarly, she spent over $11,000 on 4 sewing machines and fabric bolts. In 15 years, she managed to produce only one vest, one dress, one blouse, and a cat collar. When she bought the 4th machine, I asked her why she had bought the 3 other machines earlier. She answered that they did not have the features she needed to do her sewing work.
When I asked why she had chosen to buy 3 machines without the proper features, she explained that it was my fault. She said she knew that I would object to her spending more money to get the right features. So, to keep peace in the family, she had sacrificed herself by buying cheaper machines that wouldn't do the job. And she really believed that nonsense.
She has had issues with her sisters and mom off and on and sometimes goes a month or more without speaking to them.
Likewise, my BPDer exW has a falling out with one of her sisters nearly every year and they will stop speaking sometimes for 4 to 6 months. Then they're back to being best friends and thick as thieves.
What usually happens is that one sister will tell a joke that they all have laughed to on 6 or 7 occasions -- all of them thinking it is outrageously funny. But, on the 7th or 8th telling of the joke, one or two sisters will take great offense -- feeling as though they have been insulted. So they stop speaking to each other for months.
With BPDers, you never know what tiny thing is going to trigger the anger they have inside. Oftentimes, you don't have to say or do a thing. Rather, just being in the room with them is sufficient for you to serve as a "perpetrator" on which they can project a hurtful feeling or thought. They will be convinced it was coming from you even though you haven't moved a muscle.
Is that even possible to get where it is 90% peaceful if someone has strong BPD and some NPD traits?
With NPD, I've never seen any convincing studies showing that therapy can make a dent in it. With BPD, most major cities in advanced countries offer excellent treatment programs (e.g., DBT and CBT) that can teach BPDers the emotional regulation skills they missed in early childhood. Yet, it is rare for a high functioning BPDer to remain in such a program long enough (several years at least) to make a real difference. I would be surprised if as much as 1% of high functioning BPDers have the self awareness and ego strength required to make a real improvement in behavior.
I am open to reading books but should I let her know why I am reading them or keep it to myself?
Keep it to yourself. If she really does exhibit strong BPD traits, she almost certainly will project the accusation (that SHE has strong traits) right back onto you. The result is that she will be absolutely convinced that YOU are the one exhibiting strong BPD traits.
This is not to say, however, that I followed my own advice. After we separated -- not wanting to leave any rock unturned -- I slipped a copy of Stop Walking on Eggshells
into a box of her belongings. She found it and read it. Of course, she immediately concluded that I am the BPDer. Never mind that SHE is the one who was sexually abused by her own father for years.
What bothers me from the way I understand it she will never change unless she is willing to acknowledge a problem and get help.
You understand correctly. The change must come from her. There are a number of emotional skills she must work hard to learn: how to self sooth, how to avoid black-white thinking, how to trust, how to regulate her own emotions, how to intellectually challenge intense feelings instead of accepting them as "facts," and how to be "mindful" (i.e., how to remain in the present instead of escaping into the past and future through daydreams).
If she is willing -- which is highly unlikely -- she can make some progress in acquiring those skills by reading. But she won't get far on her own. Professional guidance is essential.
It has been very difficult dealing with this over the years, its almost a relief to know that there could be a underlying mental issue at hand not that it excuses the behavior.
You are right, of course. Being able to explain
her dysfunctional behavior does not excuse
any of it. Like a spoiled young child, a BPDer should be allowed to suffer the logical consequences of her own bad choices and bad behavior. Otherwise, you are robbing her of any incentives and opportunities she might have to confront her own issues and learn how to manage them.
It is very demoralizing and degrading to live with someone like this.
Yes, but keep in mind that the "demoralizing and degrading" is not something SHE is doing to you. Rather, it is something you BOTH are doing to each other. After all, a toxic relationship cannot be sustained for nearly 20 years without two willing participants.
Granted, her role in this toxicity -- i.e., her abuse and neglect of you -- is very easy to see. What is much harder to see is the role you have played in the toxicity. While she has been harming you for many years, you have been harming her too.
You've been an "enabler," i.e., a person who enables her to behave like a spoiled four-year-old for many years -- and KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH IT. She's been able to do this only because you protect her from having to experience the logical consequences of her own bad behavior.