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Old 07-06-2013, 06:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default BPD wife

Ok..so I'm finally admitting that my wife is displaying some of the traits of a Borderline personality disorder.
We've been married for 22+ years and I'm not dense, I just always believed she was just sensitive but it's become too obvious.
Some things that she consistently does..

When an event is happening she will paint me or whoever is the focus, as evil and heartless.

She will change personality significantly.

She can't see any good things to redeem the situation

She is totally irrational.

She is always hypersensitive to criticism

She is obsessive n her thoughts and seems to have no ability to control where they go

She will become violent at times

She will say things that she has to take back...ALOT

During "events" she is impossible to reason with.

Things that happened many years ago will appear to be happening now, in her mind. I call this timeline issues.


I have always tried to figure out a pattern to this but it's led me to just always be waiting for the other shoe to drop. Walking on eggshells is the best way to describe it. Im always waiting for the mood shift and then im the bad guy again.

Who has experienced this and how can I alter my situation for the better?
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Old 07-06-2013, 08:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: BPD wife

Go here:

Borderline Personality Disorder - Support group for families and relationship partners

the forum there will be helpful
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks, ill check it out.
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: BPD wife

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Originally Posted by dogman View Post
how can I alter my situation for the better?
I'm not sure what you mean by alter the situation, unless you are meaning deal with it?

I would suggest that you ask her to seek out some therapy or get her to go to MC with you and bring it up there. You could try IC for yourself and maybe a therapist can help you with some things. Bottom line, if in fact she was diagnosed with that, you will eventually either need to accept it and learn ways to live with it, or you will need to make a choice on what you will and will not tolerate in your life.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not sure what you mean by alter the situation, unless you are meaning deal with it?

I would suggest that you ask her to seek out some therapy or get her to go to MC with you and bring it up there. You could try IC for yourself and maybe a therapist can help you with some things. Bottom line, if in fact she was diagnosed with that, you will eventually either need to accept it and learn ways to live with it, or you will need to make a choice on what you will and will not tolerate in your life.
Thanks for the response.

This is what makes me hesitate to post about this issue.

You are right...as far as I know this is not something that can be medicated and fixed. This is something that the only way to have improvement is to get them to admit the problem and make certain adjustments in their own thinking and reaction to that thinking.
My problem is that she is in complete denial of her own actions even to the point of denying things she has said. And she's no liar. She truly doesn't see her part of the problem

This brings it to your point. Get her help or "make a choice of what I will tolerate" which translates to ending the relationship.

I was hoping for something else but I realize that might not exist.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: BPD wife

Quote:
Originally Posted by dogman View Post
Ok..so I'm finally admitting that my wife is displaying some of the traits of a Borderline personality disorder.
Dog, I'm sorry to hear that. I knew, based on a comment you made last December in BadGuy's thread, that you've been suspecting it since then.
Quote:
When an event is happening she will paint me or whoever is the focus, as evil and heartless.....She can't see any good things to redeem the situation.
As you know by now, that's called "black-white thinking," wherein everyone is categorized as "all good" or "all bad" -- and will be recategorized within a few seconds (from one polar extreme to the other) based solely on a minor action or trivial comment.
Quote:
She will say things that she has to take back...A LOT.
Well, that's an understatement. In another thread, you stated "She would tell me to just leave, get out. She even wished I would just die in my sleep" (Your 9/30/12 post). This type of hateful speech is typical of what a BPDer will say while "splitting you black." During those times, a BPDer will be completely out of touch with her good feelings toward you. This occurs because BPDers have such a fractured, fragile sense of self that they cannot tolerate experiencing strong mixed feelings, ambiguities, uncertainties, or other grey areas in interpersonal relationships.
Quote:
She will change personality significantly.
It is common for folks living with a BPDer to complain that it feels like they are living with a person who is half way to having Dissociative Identity Disorder (what used to be called "Multiple Personality Disorder). BPD is not the same thing as DID but BPDers do tend to dissociate far more than healthy people do.
Quote:
She is totally irrational.
That is pretty much true for all of us when we experience intense feelings. This is why, by the time we are in high school, we all realize that our judgment goes out the window whenever we are very angry or infatuation. And this is why, when we are angry, we try to keep our mouths shut until we have time to cool down. And this is why we try to wait at least a year before buying the ring.

What sets BPDers apart, then, is the frequency and intensity with which irrational periods occur. Because they cannot manage their emotions well, they experience intense feelings far more frequently. And because they have the emotional development of a four year old, they have never learned how to do self soothing and distraction to calm themselves down.
Quote:
She is always hypersensitive to criticism.
If she has strong BPD traits, she is so filled with self loathing and shame that the last thing she wants to hear is one more thing to add to the long list of things she hates about herself.
Quote:
She will become violent at times.
Not all violent people have BPD. Physical violence nonetheless is strongly associated with having strong BPD traits. It can be dangerous living with a person who has the emotional development of a four year old -- combined with the cunning and body strength of a full grown adult.
Quote:
During "events" she is impossible to reason with.
If she has strong BPD traits, you will find that she also is "impossible to reason with" even when no "events" are occurring. BPDers carry such enormous anger and shame deep inside that you don't have to do a thing to CREATE the anger. Rather, you only have to do or say some trivial thing to TRIGGER the anger that is already there. Significantly, that anger can be triggered in just a few seconds anytime you try to bring up a sensitive issue -- and, as you likely know, nearly every issue requiring compromise or negotiation is sensitive. This means, then, that it is impossible to have a calm, rational discussion with a BPDer -- even when you find her in a happy, calm mood. That mood can instantly change because a BPDer is always just a few seconds away from releasing her rage -- if you trigger her.
Quote:
Things that happened many years ago will appear to be happening now, in her mind. I call this timeline issues.
BPDers have a fragile, fractured sense of who they are. To the extent that a BPDer has a consistent self image, it is one of being "The Victim." They maintain a death grip on that false self image by continually seeking validation for it. Generally, this means you will be perceived as the "Perpetrator," the cause of every misfortune. Moreover, every imagined fault of yours will be added to a list that always gets longer and longer. And that list will be brought out every time you have an argument.

This action of blowing up every disagreement into an attack on everything you ever did wrong is called "kitchen sinking" -- because they will complain about everything except the kitchen sink. As you said last September (9/5/12), your W had been beating you over the head with the same complaint. You said, "For the last 5 years I've been taking a lot of abuse for how I acted so I kept quiet about my own doubts."

My exW, for example, would regularly bring up things which she imagined had happened many years earlier. She would accuse me of making up a new lie every week. Yet, when I would ask for a specific example of a lie I had told her recently, she would talk about something I supposedly had said 10 or 15 years earlier -- as though it had occurred only last week.
Quote:
I have no contact with my entire family of origin anymore and certain longtime friends and it's a small price to save my 22year marriage. [From your 9/5/12 post.]
It is very common for BPDers (i.e., those having strong traits) to try to isolate their spouses away from their support group -- away from all close friends and family members. Because BPDers have a strong fear of abandonment, they are very controlling of the loved one's personal life -- and controlling is easier when he has no support group to tell him otherwise.

It therefore is interesting that you mention nothing about your W having a fear of abandonment. Indeed, the closest you come to saying anything about it is this comment about how she objected to your being close to old friends and family members.
Quote:
Walking on eggshells is the best way to describe it.
You should stop doing that. That enabling behavior is harmful to both of you. This is why the #1 best-selling BPD book (targeted to the abused spouses) is called Stop Walking on Eggshells.
Quote:
Im always waiting for the mood shift and then im the bad guy again.
Such mood changes can be caused by a brain injury or brain tumor. But that is very rare. The common causes of mood changes include drug abuse and hormone changes (e.g., pregnancy, postpartum, and mid-life change). Yet, if you can rule those out -- and you seem to have done so -- the remaining common causes of serious mood changes are BPD and bipolar disorder (or both occurring together). Significantly, you are not describing the typical bipolar symptoms.
Quote:
I ended up on a suicide hotline 2 years ago because I was buying the things she said to me, it was like brain washing.
It is common for the abused partners of BPDers to feel like they are losing their minds. Indeed, of the 157 mental disorders listed in the APA's Diagnostic Manual, BPD is the one most notorious for making the abused spouses feel like they may be going crazy. It is very confusing and disorienting to live with someone who, in a few seconds, will flip from adoring you to devaluing you -- and then, a few hours or days later, will flip back again just as quickly.
Quote:
I met her and it was perfect. I asked her to marry me after 2 weeks, we were married in 6 months.
Dog, that "perfection" is to be expected if she has strong BPD traits. BPDers are very VERY easy to fall in love with. Because they lack a strong sense of self, they tend to mirror the person they are around at the time. When they become infatuated with a lover, they pull out all the stops and mirror him so perfectly that both parties will be absolutely convinced they've met their soul mates. Significantly, if your W has strong BPD traits, she likely was just as convinced as you that she had met the "perfect" mate. It is that infatuation that holds her two great fears (abandonment and engulfment) at bay throughout the courtship period. Right after the wedding, however, the infatuation fades and the fears return.
Quote:
How can I alter my situation for the better?
Dog, as an initial matter, I recommend that you NOT tell your W about your suspicions. 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 decide that her BPD traits are only at a moderate level and you want to remain with her, I suggest you learn the techniques for validating her. Because BPDers typically grew up in invalidating childhood environments, it is extremely important to them to be validated frequently. Granted, if she has strong BPD traits, such validation won't improve things much (if my experience is any guide). But, if she has only moderate BPD traits, validation may make a substantial improvement.

Toward that end, I suggest you get Stop Walking on Eggshells, the book I mentioned earlier. It discusses validation techniques and explains the importance of using them. (Or, if you ever decide to get a divorce instead, get Splitting: Protecting Yourself while Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder).

Third, I agree with 3Strikes' suggestion that 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" and "Leaving" board.

Fourth, while you are at BPDfamily.com, I suggest you read the excellent articles in their resources section. If you decide to remain married, the best article in that section for being supportive probably is Supporting a Loved-one with Borderline Personality Disorder -John G. Gunderson, M.D.. Like the book I mentioned above, this article discusses validation techniques and how to establish strong personal boundaries. I also recommend Kathy Batesel's article at Borderline Personality Disorder and Relationships.

Fifth, I suggest you read my brief overview of BPD traits in my post at My list of hell!. Yet, based on what you said last December in BadGuy's thread, I suspect you've already read that post.

Sixth, 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. As I've explained in 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 -- much less tell their spouses -- the name of the disorder.

Finally, Dog, 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 here, you likely are helping many other members and lurkers.
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Old 07-06-2013, 04:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Dog, I'm sorry to hear that. I knew, based on a comment you made last December in BadGuy's thread, that you've been suspecting it since then.As you know by now, that's called "black-white thinking," wherein everyone is categorized as "all good" or "all bad" -- and will be recategorized within a few seconds (from one polar extreme to the other) based solely on a minor action or trivial comment.Well, that's an understatement. In another thread, you stated "She would tell me to just leave, get out. She even wished I would just die in my sleep" (Your 9/30/12 post). This type of hateful speech is typical of what a BPDer will say while "splitting you black." During those times, a BPDer will be completely out of touch with her good feelings toward you. This occurs because BPDers have such a fractured, fragile sense of self that they cannot tolerate experiencing strong mixed feelings, ambiguities, uncertainties, or other grey areas in interpersonal relationships.It is common for folks living with a BPDer to complain that it feels like they are living with a person who is half way to having Dissociative Identity Disorder (what used to be called "Multiple Personality Disorder). BPD is not the same thing as DID but BPDers do tend to dissociate far more than healthy people do.That is pretty much true for all of us when we experience intense feelings. This is why, by the time we are in high school, we all realize that our judgment goes out the window whenever we are very angry or infatuation. And this is why, when we are angry, we try to keep our mouths shut until we have time to cool down. And this is why we try to wait at least a year before buying the ring.

What sets BPDers apart, then, is the frequency and intensity with which irrational periods occur. Because they cannot manage their emotions well, they experience intense feelings far more frequently. And because they have the emotional development of a four year old, they have never learned how to do self soothing and distraction to calm themselves down.If she has strong BPD traits, she is so filled with self loathing and shame that the last thing she wants to hear is one more thing to add to the long list of things she hates about herself.Not all violent people have BPD. Physical violence nonetheless is strongly associated with having strong BPD traits. It can be dangerous living with a person who has the emotional development of a four year old -- combined with the cunning and body strength of a full grown adult.
If she has strong BPD traits, you will find that she also is "impossible to reason with" even when no "events" are occurring. BPDers carry such enormous anger and shame deep inside that you don't have to do a thing to CREATE the anger. Rather, you only have to do or say some trivial thing to TRIGGER the anger that is already there. Significantly, that anger can be triggered in just a few seconds anytime you try to bring up a sensitive issue -- and, as you likely know, nearly every issue requiring compromise or negotiation is sensitive. This means, then, that it is impossible to have a calm, rational discussion with a BPDer -- even when you find her in a happy, calm mood. That mood can instantly change because a BPDer is always just a few seconds away from releasing her rage -- if you trigger her.BPDers have a fragile, fractured sense of who they are. To the extent that a BPDer has a consistent self image, it is one of being "The Victim." They maintain a death grip on that false self image by continually seeking validation for it. Generally, this means you will be perceived as the "Perpetrator," the cause of every misfortune. Moreover, every imagined fault of yours will be added to a list that always gets longer and longer. And that list will be brought out every time you have an argument.

This action of blowing up every disagreement into an attack on everything you ever did wrong is called "kitchen sinking" -- because they will complain about everything except the kitchen sink. As you said last September (9/5/12), your W had been beating you over the head with the same complaint. You said, "For the last 5 years I've been taking a lot of abuse for how I acted so I kept quiet about my own doubts."

My exW, for example, would regularly bring up things which she imagined had happened many years earlier. She would accuse me of making up a new lie every week. Yet, when I would ask for a specific example of a lie I had told her recently, she would talk about something I supposedly had said 10 or 15 years earlier -- as though it had occurred only last week.It is very common for BPDers (i.e., those having strong traits) to try to isolate their spouses away from their support group -- away from all close friends and family members. Because BPDers have a strong fear of abandonment, they are very controlling of the loved one's personal life -- and controlling is easier when he has no support group to tell him otherwise.

It therefore is interesting that you mention nothing about your W having a fear of abandonment. Indeed, the closest you come to saying anything about it is this comment about how she objected to your being close to old friends and family members.You should stop doing that. That enabling behavior is harmful to both of you. This is why the #1 best-selling BPD book (targeted to the abused spouses) is called Stop Walking on Eggshells.Such mood changes can be caused by a brain injury or brain tumor. But that is very rare. The common causes of mood changes include drug abuse and hormone changes (e.g., pregnancy, postpartum, and mid-life change). Yet, if you can rule those out -- and you seem to have done so -- the remaining common causes of serious mood changes are BPD and bipolar disorder (or both occurring together). Significantly, you are not describing the typical bipolar symptoms.It is common for the abused partners of BPDers to feel like they are losing their minds. Indeed, of the 157 mental disorders listed in the APA's Diagnostic Manual, BPD is the one most notorious for making the abused spouses feel like they may be going crazy. It is very confusing and disorienting to live with someone who, in a few seconds, will flip from adoring you to devaluing you -- and then, a few hours or days later, will flip back again just as quickly.Dog, that "perfection" is to be expected if she has strong BPD traits. BPDers are very VERY easy to fall in love with. Because they lack a strong sense of self, they tend to mirror the person they are around at the time. When they become infatuated with a lover, they pull out all the stops and mirror him so perfectly that both parties will be absolutely convinced they've met their soul mates. Significantly, if your W has strong BPD traits, she likely was just as convinced as you that she had met the "perfect" mate. It is that infatuation that holds her two great fears (abandonment and engulfment) at bay throughout the courtship period. Right after the wedding, however, the infatuation fades and the fears return.Dog, as an initial matter, I recommend that you NOT tell your W about your suspicions. 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 decide that her BPD traits are only at a moderate level and you want to remain with her, I suggest you learn the techniques for validating her. Because BPDers typically grew up in invalidating childhood environments, it is extremely important to them to be validated frequently. Granted, if she has strong BPD traits, such validation won't improve things much (if my experience is any guide). But, if she has only moderate BPD traits, validation may make a substantial improvement.

Toward that end, I suggest you get Stop Walking on Eggshells, the book I mentioned earlier. It discusses validation techniques and explains the importance of using them. (Or, if you ever decide to get a divorce instead, get Splitting: Protecting Yourself while Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder).

Third, I agree with 3Strikes' suggestion that 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" and "Leaving" board.

Fourth, while you are at BPDfamily.com, I suggest you read the excellent articles in their resources section. If you decide to remain married, the best article in that section for being supportive probably is Supporting a Loved-one with Borderline Personality Disorder -John G. Gunderson, M.D.. Like the book I mentioned above, this article discusses validation techniques and how to establish strong personal boundaries. I also recommend Kathy Batesel's article at Borderline Personality Disorder and Relationships.

Fifth, I suggest you read my brief overview of BPD traits in my post at My list of hell!. Yet, based on what you said last December in BadGuy's thread, I suspect you've already read that post.

Sixth, 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. As I've explained in 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 -- much less tell their spouses -- the name of the disorder.

Finally, Dog, 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 here, you likely are helping many other members and lurkers.


Uptown, thanks so much. I feel better just reading your post. I will follow your advice. You couldn't be more right with the evaluation of her traits and actions.
I'm seriously discouraged. We are in the phase after an event that she will do anything for me and she is incredibly attentive, trying to make it all up to me. It will wear off.

Thanks again.
I'll get back to you after reading a bit tonight.
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Old 07-06-2013, 04:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: BPD wife

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Uptown....
I'll get back to you after reading a bit tonight.
Hope so, Dog. I especially hope to hear what you meant about giving up all contact with your "family of origin" for your W. I was blown away, last October, by your story about your Dad (whose photo you show in your album). What an amazing guy! I hate the thought of your not spending more time with him -- before he died -- in a futile attempt to sooth and comfort your W (if, indeed, that is what happened).
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hope so, Dog. I especially hope to hear what you meant about giving up all contact with your "family of origin" for your W. I was blown away, last October, by your story about your Dad (whose photo you show in your album). What an amazing guy! I hate the thought of your not spending more time with him -- before he died -- in a futile attempt to sooth and comfort your W (if, indeed, that is what happened).

Well, I spent enough time with my father. He loved my wife and she was very fond of him in spite of some things he did in his life. At the end for my father I was his main comfort and guardian through his waning days. The pic you mention is special to me. My father was very proud of me at that moment.

The family I have stayed away from are toxic and criminal. I am Italian and the Sicilian side is bad. They are cheaters and worse. It took a long time to learn that I am happier without them. By the way, I take after my fathers side which is Northern Italian.(more balanced, mentally haha!)

Needless to say my wife demonized them to an evil degree. I know they are just toxic. They take pride in messing with my wife. And causing problems between us.
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Old 07-08-2013, 05:45 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Tell me if I've been on the right track so far. Writing this helps me organize my thought and direction with this.

-6 years ago for about 6 months we went to MC.
-She went to IC for about 6 months
-I went to IC for the better part of 2 years, but it was split into several months of sessions then I'd stop for a while and then go again when the crap got too deep. The last I went was about 6 months ago. She went a couple times 6 months ago as well.
-I learned to give her what she needs emotionally, instead of what I need to give her.
-I learned to talk...a lot.
-I set boundaries in arguments and during "events". But this is only enforceable if I'm willing to leave the premises. Which makes things worse because of the abandonment thing.
-I make sure it's on the record when she has morphed other anxiety into "Dogman is the bad guy"- misdirected anger/anxiety etc.
-I enlisted the help of her parents, who love me and think I'm awesome. This backfired because she has it in her head that I've ruined her relationship with her father. (He only lasted 15 minutes with her when she was having "fits". For me the last "event lasted about 28 hours including a 6 hour sleep break)
- I don't let anything go that I feel is unfair during our conversations. For instance, the statements that include "you always" and "you never"
-I've established that I'm not leaving no matter how many times she stomps out or says she wants a divorce. Much of her anger and hurt currently has its roots in the fact that I did leave 7 years ago for 7 months. I had given up. I returned for my 2 kids, at the time they were ages 11 and 13
-when she calms down, I voice my issues with her behavior. This is ok while she is in the regret phase after an event. This in not ok later. Later it can start the whole process over again.


As of late we have dangerous conversations weekly and a level 10 event once a month or two. We never go more than 2 months without a crazy town event. No matter what's starts the event it ends up being about me leaving her and betraying her by leaving and humiliating her.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:50 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: BPD wife

Dog,

I don't know your story, but why do you want to be in a relationship like this?

Love?

Edit: Much of what you write reminds me of my ex. Ugh. It's like these BPDers all follow the same behavior programming.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Dog,

I don't know your story, but why do you want to be in a relationship like this?

Love?

Edit: Much of what you write reminds me of my ex. Ugh. It's like these BPDers all follow the same behavior programming.
This is a legitimate question...

Honestly, the number one reason is because I really believe it would destroy her completely to end it.
Secondly, I really want to stay with the wife of my youth and the mother of my children.
And yes I do love her but I can get over that. I loved her when I left before. I wouldn't stay just for that.

If I thought she would stay pi$$ed at me or just get over it I would go and be pretty happy since my kids are 19 and 20 currently and both are extremely close to me.

So, Im not quite ready to give up but a few days ago my answer might have been different.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I set boundaries in arguments and during "events". But this is only enforceable if I'm willing to leave the premises. Which makes things worse because of the abandonment thing.
Dog, as you already know, it is important to enforce the personal boundaries you establish. My experience is that, if she has only mild to moderate BPD traits, she will be able to tolerate the new boundaries and your relationship will be substantially improved. Yet, if she has strong BPD traits, she likely will be unwilling to tolerate the boundaries. One reason is that she will be unwilling to live with you when you stop "validating" her false self image of always being "The Victim." For that validation to continue, you must be willing to continue playing the role of "The Perpetrator" and -- occasionally -- the role of "The Savior." Both of those roles, however, require that you abandon your personal boundaries.

Another reason she will not tolerate your having strong boundaries is that your enforcing them -- as you already learned -- scares her badly because she will misinterpret it as a sure sign you are planning on leaving her. As you say, enforcing boundaries "makes things worse because of the abandonment thing."

Certainly, that was my experience. In the last two years of my marriage, I started standing up for myself by enforcing strong personal boundaries. My BPDer exW became so fearful of abandonment that she eventually had me thrown into jail -- on a bogus charge -- so she could get a restraining order preventing me from returning to my own home for 18 months (the time it takes here to get a divorce).

Hence, my advice is that you enforce your own personal boundaries, which means you occasionally will have to leave the premises. If she is able to handle it, fine. If not, you likely would find that her abandonment fear is so severe that she will preemptively abandon YOU to stop the uncertainty and pain. In that event, please be on your guard to avoid being thrown into jail on a bogus charge.
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As of late we have dangerous conversations weekly and a level 10 event once a month or two. We never go more than 2 months without a crazy town event.
Yes, that's the way it was with my exW and me. We could sometimes go as long as two months without a level 10 event. Intimacy -- as during a great vacation or intimate weekend -- would always speed up the next outburst because my exW needed to create drama to push me away, giving herself breathing room.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: BPD wife

My wife has a BPD diagnosis, and suspected co-morbidity with autism. However, I suspect that the BPD diagnosis may be because no one bothers treating NPDs.

Your wife sounds fairly BPD, consider also NPD. NPD is a common 30% or so co-morbidity for BPD - and related traits are probably more common.

I wouldn't worry about the one time you left - my wife has a whole list of problems that she'll dredge up when she's upset and looking for a fight.

If she keeps it together for other people, that's probably closer to NPD.

You might try leaving faster - 28 hours is a long time. One reason that her behavior continues is that she gets something out of it. You might try establishing a _really_ strict boundary and then leaving immediately when she violates it. (Make sure your bags are packed, et cetera, in advance.) My wife and I started making progress following (a) me leaving when she became abusive and (b) me having her arrested when she became physically abusive to prevent me leaving.

Overall, you've been with her for 20+ years. You seem to have a vaguely liveable living situation. It is fairly clear that you'd be best served by divorcing her and getting on with your life, but your marriage isn't bad enough that running really fast is mandatory for survival.

It isn't likely that she'll change appreciably - barring major life changes on her end. It actually might be healthy for her for you to leave. OTOH, personality disorders often decrease slowly with time...or get massively worse around menopause.

Counter-intuitive stuff that helped a bit...YMMV

(a) Y'know how there's a tendency for sane people to walk on eggshells to try to avoid crazytown? Stop. Validation tends to help when my wife isn't looking for a fight. The regular visits to crazytown...those were mostly my wife dealing with outside issues by choosing to abuse someone.

If I tried very hard to be a perfect husband, I visited crazytown once a month. Once I became frustrated and stopped trying, there'd be about one low-level incident a week, and crazytown every 6-8 weeks.

If anything, daily feedback, criticism, and bickering seemed to reduce the real crazy stuff.

(b) Y'know how there's a tendency for sane people to treat their partner's well? I'm not saying stop - but consider occasionally treating your partner in ways consonant with her behavior. (part of the problem was that I'm very even-tempered...)

For me, that meant spending an hour talking over my wife and lecturing her on her behavior while ignoring everything she said. By the end of the hour, she was: (a) huddled on the floor - making disconnected noises, (b) sufficiently discombobulated that she couldn't remember her name, and (c) requesting that I just tell her I'm not willing to talk and walk out instead. (Given that she'd refused to acknowledge that leaving an argument was ever acceptable for the better part of 5 years...I took it as progress.) Abusive? Yes. Made my point to a woman with zero empathy? Also yes.

--Argyle

*Lastly, please note that autism can sometimes either look like or be co-morbid with personality disorders.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:47 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: BPD wife

If I may interject a brief question: Any of you who have experience with this ever read this book?: Amazon.com: Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: How to Keep Out-of-Control Emotions from Destroying Your Relationship eBook: Shari Y. Manning, Marsha M. Linehan: Kindle Store

I ask, because it seems good so far, but maybe I should be starting with those mentioned above.

Good luck, dogman.
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