3 thoughts on “Emotional Abuse and Your Partner With BPD

  • January 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I suffer with borderline personality disorder and although my partner and I have been through some very rough patches, we are so much stronger for the compassion, patience and understanding he has shown me. Together we’ve learnt that every one, whether bpd or not, is guilty of using some sort of manipulation to get what they want, or feel (sometimes not even consciously) they need emotionally. Blaming each other does not help the situation. EVERYONE hurts those closest to them (and sometimes others) when they are in pain themselves.

    I agree that no one deserves to be emotionally abused. I also believe that if the reasons behind it are sought out, an agreement is made to work hard at the relationship and egos are put aside by both parties, there is a real chance at achieving a relationship that is as intensely positive as it had been negative.

    I note that you have mentioned the fact that bpd’s abuse is unintentional but I don’t think it’s fair that there is no mention of why bpd’s may ‘act out’ more so than others. You explain for the benefit of the non-bpd partner that “People who are emotionally abused have a slow erosion of self-esteem, self-confidence, and sense of self-worth. They begin to question their own thoughts and ability to judge a situation accurately, because their abuser is constantly telling them they are wrong.”

    I would have thought this article was a bit less biased if you had explained that the majority of the lashing out by the person with bpd is due to THEM possibly having experienced one or more periods of such abuse themselves, often during their childhood. After being diagnosed only a year ago, after 14 years of fear, self-loathing and pain, I now constantly feel like my world is being turned upside down and really small things make me continuously question my reality. Imagine that? It’s like I’m learning to live and how to just be all over again. The concentration and dedication it takes to control the confusion and insecurity this brings is so intense and such hard work that the impact of this on my social skills has been dramatic. It’s hard interacting normally and calmly with people that I’ve been close to for my whole life.

    Any progress I’ve made is by being helped made aware of my behaviour in a gentle, un-accusing, understanding and positive way. I wanted to write in response to this article as even my partner acknowledges that most articles about people with borderline personality disorder are so damning, painting a picture of such a monster! If he hadn’t realised that underneath that monster there was a frightened little girl, literally killing herself and crying out to be understood, I don’t know where I would be now. All I am trying to convey is that it is very difficult for those without bpd to appreciate how difficult it is for us to regulate our emotions. For example, the intensity of pain I feel for simple things like missing the bus and being late for work can feel the same as visiting someone I love in hospital. Trying to regulate this while doing take-for-granted tasks like having a light conversation is like playing the piano whilst baking a cake. My husband knows this so he cuts me some slack if I might snap at him and it’s this calm compassion that puts my behaviour into perspective which often leads to me offering a speedy apology, making us both feel better. We’re both only human and we do still have blazing rows every few months but we know that it’s not about the arguments that we have, it’s how we deal with them that’s important. It is his forgiveness for these small things and how I treated him A LOT worse before my diagnosis that has given me the strength to finally forgive, love and heal myself.

  • November 28, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Though my estranged husband has not been officially diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder with elements of narcissistic and abandonment traits, my therapist (previously our couple therapist for months) has worked with me alone for about two years to help me understand what I am coping with. Six months ago I finally accepted that the situation would not improve and I needed to take care of myself. I feel I have been exposed to extreme emotional abuse for the last three years, with my husband expressing remorse after each incident. I do believe he has tried to stop this but is not able to win the battles with his “dark places”, “demons”, etc. which “need to be buried deep inside him in inferior places where they belong”. These are quotes from my husband which I still read off and on to try to understand what has happened. The therapists has explained what appears to her as “compartmentalization” to help me. Since the end of May this year after one last try to “fix” our marriage, my husband literally does not seem to have any memory of what I was in his life. We are still working together in a business, and half the time this is okay. Other times, I feel he is working to destroy this business. The hardest part for me is his lack of recognizing me. He is polite most of the time but sees me as just another employee. For myself, I need to have no contact with him but that is not possibly at this time, though hopefully this is coming soon. I have become a “bad person” who “left the marriage”, and he seems to have no recall as to why I did this. My guess is (since he has no recall of the past three years) he feels I abandoned him. He pretty quickly jumped into another relationship because he needed “solace”.

    I work with my therapist to help me understand why I didn’t get out of this situation much sooner. We have discussed things such as being a middle child of 5 siblings, quiet and shy, and avoiding discord if other siblings were being troublesome for our parents. I remember my childhood very positively but I might have need more personal attention from my parents. It doesn’t seem to be a major problem, but it could explain my inability to leave this relationship. I loved my husband with a passion which was reciprocal but perhaps more “manic”. I loved being told how much he loved me, best thing that ever happened to him, love of his life, soulmate, wanted to die in my arms, and on and on. He was still expressing these things at the end of May. A day after our last attempt to work things out, he seems to have blocked all that from his memory. This has been a rough road but I’m really doing so much better. It helps that I don’t recognize anything in him that I was familiar with. He literally looks like a different person to me now, and I am able to interact with him as though he is a different person. Sometimes the loss of what we had is overwhelming and I wallow in self-pity, but these episodes are less and less frequent. I need a time to mourn this death but the daily battles – legal, finances, lies to sort out, horrendous work load, etc. don’t allow for this right now. I am hoping that a planned trip in the spring will give me that time.

    Another sad situation to watch is what appears to be his inability to function mentally as he used to do. He is very intelligent but needs constant approval from others. Just a few days ago, we were discussing a business issue and he brought up something from about 35 years ago as though it was a current event. I could see the confusion on his face as he tried to put the pieces together. Similar things are happening more and more often with other people and employees. One day he sounds rational and cooperative and the next day he is criticizing everyone and everything. His hours at work are very erratic, he schedules “important” meetings but forgets to show up. Our employees are very skittish around him now and try to stay out of his way. My therapist explains that he is looking through a very narrow tunnel and is unable to access a lot of information he needs to function normally because so much memory has been sealed off in compartments

    Wow, I guess I needed to put this out there. I do need support and understanding of all that has happened and welcome any feedback.

  • April 28, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    I feel women are over-diagnosed with BPD and men under-diagnosed. It is possible that 90% of abusive husbands/partners have BPD.
    I finally figured out that my live in boyfriend has BPD. It took me three baffling years to get this as I was unfamiliar with BPD. He fits every criteria and I am over it. The fresh hell a BPD creates every day and the old hells that linger on and continue are confusing, stressful, depleting and basically unnecessary. The level of conflicting behavior, thought patterns, absurdities and the utter inability to move beyond anything except justifying constant anger…always somebody else’s fault and often mine, the belitting, ranting, lecturing, mocking, verbal assaults and threats of violence, revisiting old hurts with more ranting, triangulization…enough. The key? A BPD is unable to relate in relationships. They cannot see how their behavior, usually things discussed over and over, harm another. My plan is to tell him to move but it has got to be done right and to make it seem like it’s for his sake. Thankfully he is not on my lease.
    More thought from counselors and therapists need to be given in considering their male patients who present with ranting, complaining and unresolved depression as having BPD. It would make more sense and frankly, this idea of women predominantly having BPD over men is outdated, sexist and harmful.


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