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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.