What dating behaviour freaks men out
Women With Traits of BPD – Why Men Stay
Borderline Personality Disorder?
Most people assume that there must be something wrong with men who stay in relationships with women who have traits of borderline personality disorder, men who know the right move is to leave but who find themselves unable to let go.
In Part 2 of this blog series you are going to learn that there are very specific reasons why women with traits of borderline personality disorder seem to attract a certain type of man and why these men so often can’t let go of these troubled relationships.
In Part 1 we explored the personality type associated with traits of borderline personality disorder, or BPD, and the unusual pattern of Dr. Jekyll-to-Mr. Hyde transformation that so many of these women go through when they enter a romantic relationship.
With this understanding of what makes the woman with traits of BPD engage in these destructive behavior patterns, let’s now turn to the question of why so many men stay even when it’s clear that the woman they are with is not capable of sustaining a healthy relationship. In order to understand the dynamic of this couple, we need to answer a very important question. What was it about this man that attracted a woman with traits of BPD in the first place?
Just like there is a profile for the borderline personality type, there is also a profile for the kind of man that they often choose to partner with. The type of personality that so often gets caught up in a relationship with a woman with traits of BPD is what we might call a “nice guy” type. There is a specific reason why these women are drawn to a nice-guy type over other types of personality.
You will find an important clue in the name we commonly use to label men with this kind of personality. The reason we call them nice guys is based on their ability to act nice even when they aren’t feeling at their best. These men tend to care so deeply about their connections that they do not need to struggle in the way the average person does to keep others’ needs in mind. This ability holds a special attraction for women with traits of BPD.
The woman with traits of BPD has a problem. She has an overriding fear of relationship betrayal. Most people imagine that this kind of fear centers around the more obvious forms of betrayal such as infidelity or relationship abandonment. What they tend to overlook is the fact that betrayal happens on a much more subtle level every day in all of our relationships.
Humans are naturally a little bit selfish, and we fade in and out of this slightly narcissistic mode as we go through life. Because of this tendency, our relationships pose a difficult challenge for us. When we enter a relationship, we are expected to be able to give up our self-centered ways and treat our partner’s interests as equally important as our own. When we don’t, our relationship partners experience our selfish actions as a mild form of betrayal of our relationship agreement.
These minor betrayals over agreements to make each other feel safe in the relationship and to keep things fair for both people are at the heart of most of our everyday arguments. Minor betrayals are by no means deal-breakers, but they can definitely ruffle our feathers and hurt our feelings. But people with traits of BPD experience the minor betrayals in the same way we experience the major ones.
Although we usually assume high emotionality would be an asset in a relationship because it motivates loving behavior, too much emotionality actually turns out to be a liability. Surprisingly, relationship skills are linked to a person’s ability to follow the rules.
Passion and excitement may attract a future mate initially, but long-term relationships require self-discipline. The nice-guy type gets very high marks in the area of relationship safety and security. Their focus and commitment to their relationship keeps them on the straight and narrow. They rarely engage in these lapses.
Because women with traits of BPD are not capable of withstanding any kind of betrayal, the nice-guy type’s ability to override selfish impulses and give to her consistently turns him into her perfect knight in shining armor. She believes he will provide her with the kind of guarantee that she knows she must have in order to feel safe in a relationship. This is a guarantee that she will not be able to find in the average partner. There is, however, a more ominous side to this seemingly perfect union.
Women with traits of BPD may appear to be capable of overriding their natural selfishness when they are in the throws of new love. However, once this motivation dies down, they lack the skills to sustain their focus on their partner’s needs. The romantic partner of the woman with traits of BPD will soon find that although she demands complete adherence to the relationship rules from him, she is incapable of holding up her own end of the bargain.
Many nice-guy types are willing to accept these flaws. This personality type truly enjoys giving and often find they need nothing more in return than a feeling of being appreciated. This fantasy usually comes to a crashing halt very soon. Although the nice-guy/borderline union in theory should work, in reality it is guaranteed to fail.
One of two things may happen. Either the nice-guy type will finally have a momentary lapse of selfishness, which she will experience as a major betrayal, or she will become so overwhelmed by her suspicious nature that that she will convince herself that he has betrayed her. Either way, without an ironclad guarantee that she cannot be hurt, she will be unwilling to trust him again.
This is often not the end of the story for the nice guy. Her fear of betrayal may be overwhelming, but it is no match for her obsessive desire for romantic love. She will often attempt to keep him from leaving the relationship. Her method of coping with her great longing for intimacy and simultaneous fear of being hurt can lead to a pattern of abuse. By drawing him in close and simultaneously attacking him in an attempt to disable him from hurting her, she is able to meet both of these opposing needs.
When we observe abusive relationships between nice-guy types and women with traits of BPD, we find that these men have an extraordinarily hard time leaving their girlfriends even when they know they should. Let’s take a closer look at how the nice-guy/borderline connection can lock a healthy man into an unhealthy relationship.
In order to understand why so many nice-guy types stay in abusive relationships with women with traits of BPD we must first understand a second universal human frailty. We have been addressing natural selfishness in relationships, but now let’s take a look at another form of built-in egocentric behavior.
As human beings, we tend to assume that others perceive the world in the same way we do. We may know intellectually that all of us have different personalities, not to mention different life experiences and cultural backgrounds. But for some reason we can’t help assuming that everyone thinks the same way, our way.
Both nice-guy types and women with traits of BPD tend to believe that the other possesses the same natural skills and deficits. Nice-guy types are often convinced that the world is filled with people who love to give without expecting anything in return. They run into terrible problems with over-trusting. Women with traits of BPD are similarly convinced that no one in the world is capable of overriding their emotional impulses. They may not believe anyone is capable of selfless giving. They run into problems with under-trusting.
These opposites not only attract, they are so polarized that they stick together like magnets. The nice-guy type often cannot get himself to believe that this woman is no longer capable of giving back to him. He becomes convinced that she is simply mistaken about his intentions. Because he believes in a world where everyone obeys the social rules of good behavior, he does not recognize that she is living in a world where although everyone talks about the rules, no one is actually capable of following them.
He does not know what it is like to live in a world where you believe everyone is on the take, where no one has enough self control to keep your needs in mind. He naively assumes that all he needs to do is prove to her that he is trustworthy. He is perplexed by defense mechanisms that most people know how to watch out for.
The average man is somewhere between these two extremes of total trust of one’s fellow man and complete distrust. When he meets a woman who seems too good to be true, a red flag goes up. Because he knows better than to trust on face value, he will be much more likely to cut his losses when he discovers her true nature. The nice-guy type may remain in the relationship for years, naively believing that if he just gives enough, she will finally be convinced of his true heart and they will resume the relationship where they left off.
Part of the recovery process from a breakup with a women who has traits of BPD is to recognize that these assets are valuable and should not be offered to those who are not equipped to give them back in return. It would be nice if the moral of this story was just that easy. A man in this position could simply learn how to not give unless the other person proves they are capable of giving back. Unfortunately, the woman with traits of BPD just may be the ultimate con artist, a person who fools herself into believing she can sustain a relationship as well as fooling you.
It would certainly make a happy ending to tell a man recovering from a breakup with a woman with traits of BPD to be wiser in the future about his relationships. Sadly, because the behavior patterns of a woman with traits BPD in the beginning stages of romance are indistinguishable from any other person in love, the best you may be able to hope for is that you don’t fall for this con again.
Note to Readers: Please keep in mind that I am not a psychologist or a therapist. Although the descriptions that I provide of women with traits of BPD have been obtained from those I have personally worked with, with the increased education about BPD these descriptions can now be found by anyone simply by reading through any of the forums for those in treatment for the negative behavior patterns associated with this disorder.
What makes my blog unique in the discussion about traits of BPD is the inclusion of a largely ignored set of universal human behavioral traits that play an important role in all kinds of interpersonal conflict. Although this cluster of traits has not been formally studied, I believe each one of us has more than enough experience just being human to be able to recognize the important role these character traits play in all of our lives.
If you would like to learn the Nicola Method so you can put an end to the high conflict situations you may be experiencing, click on this link to the welcome page of this website where you will find the resources you need. If you want to try out some of the basic techniques of this method for free to see if this method is right for your situation, you can learn them from an intro guide flip-book here or a PDF version of the intro guide here.
About the Author: Joanna Nicola
Thank you so much for this article.
I’ve been so scared for weeks now.
Every other analysis labels us as equally dysfunctional as our bpd partner.
That label makes us less likely to leave when we should.
I’m so glad this column was helpful for you. There is a lot of misunderstanding about this subject, and it can be very difficult to navigate through decisions like the one you have just made. Situations like this can take time to recover from, but it sounds like you are on the right path. Best of luck!
Women with bpd.know but does not truely feel every emotion…they use this knowledge to lie themselves down for ng and to a nice guy who has spent life.time lying down.for others…a heady feeling…..ng is poison to bpd woman because he says what people want to hear..without conviction..only bpd woman FEELs this…
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I’ve been reading your well written & quite helpful blog for most of the afternoon & have found it quite insightful & useful.
(Just to preface this question, I am a 47 yr old woman.)
I have a girlfriend who recently got married for the 1st time at the age of 40 yrs. She married a ‘nice guy’. To my amazement she has turned into what you describe into a ‘high conflict woman’. I had never noticed this sort of ‘extreme emotionality’ before the marriage, in fact she was rather a meek & mild depressive. (She did have a habit of blaming others for anything negative that happened & never taking responsibility for it, an example of how ridiculous this got was blaming the credit card for the bankruptcy she incurred.)
1-My High Conflict girlfriend’s new husband has a history of marrying High Conflict women (3 failed previous marriages to be exact). He has now become what I’d call an ‘Enabler’ where not only does he take & accept her constant abuse, he makes excuses for her horrid behavior & joins her in attacking others whom have ‘wronged’ her. Do you find many ‘nice guys’ who turn into ‘Enablers’ of their ‘High Conflict’ partners?
2- Apparently now I somehow ‘wronged’ my former High Conflict girlfriend so now she has launched a vicious attack on me on Facebook as well as writing me several nasty letters lecturing me on my lack of ‘basic courtesy’. What finally led me end my friendship with her was a delusional letter sent to my husband by her telling him I was unhappy in my marriage & unhappy with him in general (ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE, I have no idea where she got these ideas or why she feels she can run roughshod over my marriage.) She has since ‘defriended’ several other girlfriends in our social circle because they continue to talk to me. It has been 3 yrs since all this ‘defriending ‘ & delusional nonsense began – yet her Facebook campaign against me is still going strong. She seems to have absolutely no self awareness of her outlandish behaviors. Do you think there is any way to ‘reach’ her given her enabling relationship with her new husband & lack of self awareness? I’d like to recommend your site & excellent advice but she is so over emotional & insecure I fear it would be taken as ‘negative feedback’ & would send her into even more tantrums & histrionics.
What a great description of a classic woman with traits of BPD. In answer to your question, yes, the woman with traits of BPD may have enablers in her life. And you are also correct that in her present state the chances that she would be willing to look at her hurtful behaviors are slim. I hope you will stay tuned as I will be writing a blog addressing some techniques that can be used to stop a smear campaign that might be useful. Thanks again for sharing such a detailed portrayal of the high conflict woman!
I’ve never heard so much vilifying rubbish in my entire life!
As a person with BPD I can safely assure you that we most certainly do not enter a relationship to ‘con’ anyone! Like everyone, else we need and deserve love and although sometimes difficult, we can be wonderful partners. Noones perfect, not even you!
So fed up of people like you demonising us when you haven’t got a clue.
Whatever Nice guy….SMH
It’s all about you, isn’t it?
Now that you are aware of you internal struggles, what changes have you made to manage these behaviors? I believe I have BPD and am in the early stages of awareness and has sparked my obsession with researching about it. I was punched in the gut too when I read those last sentences. To me it portrayed a side. That the author is here only to help the “victims” of us woman with BPD.
I wanted to see if my assumption was correct and it lead me here. After reading all the attacks you sustained just for expressing you feelings, I realized there’s so much more that needs to be done to help people understand our affliction. I am only speaking for myself, that the day I realized this was bigger than me, my whole world crashed. The heavy weight of the sadness for the damage I caused, makes it difficult to breath sometimes. I want to understand it, change it, manage it and accept it, without having to hurt anyone anymore or to be hurt myself. So to those who have been hurt by someone with BPD, this is bigger than ourselves.
I find you are right, you do deserve love, and are probably unaware of your actions and how they make others feel. The simple fact that you took the time to respond is a sign you do know something about it and are not trying to completely vilify others as some do. The problem for you to find a lasting relationship is similar to the problem I have finding one, I’m OCD, I’m very protective over my possessions as they seem to be the only lasting thing besides my immediate family, I usually don’t trust other women, and I’m pretty care free, I don’t take small things and turn them into big things. I tend to somewhat try to make my partner happy once a relationship of any magnitude has been established. I have been in relationships with 3 if not more people I would classify as BPD based on being just really smart, only one was diagnosed, however only one went to therapy. I’ve found that BPD emotions run extremely high, this is not a con game as you say, but a genuine attempt for you to find someone compatible, but like with me being the easy going guy who’s a little peculiar I look for someone who initially seems to share my oddities or at least not fit into the mainstream norm. BPD women I guess fit this mold from the start very well. With you you are searching for someone who can make you emotionally happy, when in reality for a man this is very hard to do in the long run.
It’s just a crap game all around, these days even good matches aren’t lasting. I get treatment for anxiety, I have a little social phobia, not that I don’t like other people, I just don’t care for large crowds of strangers, this makes me somewhat of a homebody. Most women don’t want this for the rest of their lives and I understand it, I own it, it is my personality. Yours is also your flaw, it’s something you just have to own and say hey I know I have abandonment issues, or whatever it may be and not be afraid to admit it when you are confiding in someone
I’m recently diagnosed bpd.. I see the hell I have put my spouse through. He’s been a great man. Not that I really painted him that way. He has stuck with me bad and good. My problem is I really feel that man deserves so much better. And not because I feel unworthy but because now I see how badly I have beaten this man down mentally. He is no longer happy but still sticks with me. Please help I want to make him leave me not because I don’t love him because I do
Jenny, although the behaviors that may go along with BPD can be hurtful, they can also be stopped. You are on the road to recovery, and this may take a long time, but your spouse has the option right now of stopping the behaviors that he finds painful to him. The Nicola Method has been developed to give your spouse the exact language that you need to hear in order to overcome your feelings of distrust during high emotion episodes. You will find a workbook for partners of high conflict women available as a free download from this website. This workbook will give your spouse step by step instructions on how to lower your emotions and reestablish trust during these episodes. You will still need to work very hard on your own recovery, but your spouse does not need to suffer as well.
I am also a woman who has a diagnosis as a high-functioning BPD. I have been in therapy since last year and also go to a codependency recovery group for my issues of childhood trauma and neglect. I also see a therapist to handle parenting challenges that we have esp for my ADHD son. My kids are ages 7 and 9. My husband of 11 years has had it with me and wants out. I suggested he go to counseling as well to figure things out. He gets very angry and blames me for everything wrong in his life. I wish I could fix myself and save the marriage…we have 2 young kids. I try to use my DBT skills to regulate but some months It’s very difficult esp when I’m PMSing. I have a lot of knowledge about BPD. I take more than I give. I haven’t been supportive as he’s trying to go to school. I work full time. He feels that I don’t respect him. What can I do?
Colleen, I’m glad to hear you are taking care of yourself and getting help. No matter what happens, you will know you did everything in your power to save the relationship. You can’t move any faster than you are, and you’re still early in the process. I know it’s not easy. As far as advice, I would suggest you familiarize yourself with my introductory guide to my method and my workbook which are both free on my website.
It is very difficult to regulate one’s own emotions. However it is quite easy to regulate another person’s emotions. The methods I teach give you language that allows an angry person to say what they need to but focuses them in a way that is not hurtful to the other person. It gives instant relief to the upset person and opens communication channels. Anger in a family can be somewhat contagious, and partners and even children can get caught up in these cycles.
Your husband might not be willing to try anything new at this point, but you can use this technique to regulate his anger and if you write down the suggested language for him, he may be willing to say the words to you that will allow you to express your upset feelings in a less destructive way. This may give your family some relief so you can make important decisions in a calmer environment.
For now, here are a few sentences that will give you an idea of how to make your husband feel respected. You can use them during calm times:
“Thank you for helping with the kids. You are really good with them.”
“Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate your input.”
“Is there anything I can do to give you the space you need to study?”
“I really appreciate your role in the kids’ life. They are lucky to have you as a dad.”
Best of luck in your recovery. I think you are doing a great job. It’s a lot to handle.
Thank you for your well written informative posts on Understanding women with traits of BPD. I have been searching the web for months trying to understand and cope with the confusing crazy-making irrational behaviors of our 32 year old daughter. We believe we are and have been loving and devoted parents to our three children. My daughter asked me to be her maid of honor and we had a close relationship until a few months following her wedding. We have sound healthy relationships with the oldest and youngest child however our middle child has completely turned on us . Both my husband and I were walking on eggshells with our daughter. It was going from one conflict to another in every conversation. A series of confusing interactions began following her wedding to a “nice guy” almost 3 years ago.. A “nice guy” who does everything to appease her and throw us under the bus if he sees she needs that validation. The crisis which changed our lives came after the birth of her baby a year ago. An onslaught of disrespectful raging,verbal abuse and fabricated accusations about our insensitivity to her needs left us speechless . She has never apologized to us after her outbursts but as long as she is respectful we don’t require an apology. We have always done our best to support and parent her wholeheartedly with love. As parents we acknowledge we made decisions & choices for her with her well being in mind, however we know we made mistakes and could have done some things differently. We have apologized to her for anything we did or did not do to meet her needs or caused her pain. We love her dearly and feel great pain from the distance she has imposed on us for the past year finally resulting in no contact over the past two months. We live at a distance in different states so texting and phone contact is our means of communication. With scheduled visits about 4 times a year. Lately she has told one of her siblings that she is considering reaching out to us. I welcome any resources, books or relationship techniques that will guide parents to reconnect with their daughter who has traits of BPD. How do we begin our communication or change it to avoid more conflict & pain? I am presently reading “Loving someone with BPD” and I have read “Walking on Eggshells”.
Thank you for this important comment. It is not only spouses or boyfriends that are affected by women with traits of BPD. As parents you are in a unique position to be able to help your daughter. Although your closeness to her is triggering her fears and sensitivities, your ability to trigger her also means that you are capable of helping her get over the fears that are causing her to lash out. In order to do this, you will need to use very specific techniques to get past her defenses. If you check my website menu you will find a page for a free download of my workbook. The Nicola Method Workbook for Partners of High Conflict Women has been written to allow partners of women with traits of BPD to reverse these negative behaviors. But as parents you can also use the techniques provided in order to help your daughter get over her fears so she can connect with you both in a healthy way. In addition to the information in the workbook, there are many blog posts on this site that you can refer to in order to understand better what is really behind her negative behavior.
Last year I freed myself from a 2-year relationship with a BPD woman. 6-years-ago my 13-year marriage to a personal with BPD-traits ended. I still deal with the latter. We co-parent, which means some contact. That is challenging. The girlfriend lives outside the Country, and I have established zero content.
I didn’t really didn’t know anything about BPD until about a year or so ago. This article is the most illuminated one I’ve found that addresses the dynamic of these relationships and the role I played: “The Nice Guy”.
I used to joke when I was younger about ‘The Nice Guy Syndrome’ but more in terms of the idea that younger adult females often seemed more attracted to bad boy types.
So, I’m grateful for the article. But it also saddens me a bit and scares me as well.
I certainly scared to date now. I’m distrustful of women in general and often have misplaced anger and paranoia. Especially, when a catch a lie or something just doesn’t make sense. I think I’ve learned some hard lessons and have changed, but the article (the way I read it) suggests otherwise.
I’m very confused at how hopeful I should be about the future and my prospects for ever finding (normal) romantic love and a stable relationship.
Unfortunately, nice-guy types such as yourself will always be vulnerable to women with traits of BPD. My best advice for anyone who is worried about ending up in another of these relationships is to learn how stop defensive behaviors of all kinds. This includes manipulative behavior, controlling behavior and abusive behavior.
Just as those who learn physical self defense become less likely to be singled out, those who know emotional self-defense techniques will also seem less attractive to this type of woman. You can learn all of the techniques necessary to stop these behaviors by going through the blog posts on this site or by downloading the workbook. These techniques work on anyone who is in a highly emotional state or who uses common defense mechanisms, and they are non-confrontational so you can practice on friends and relatives. If this recurring problem has really got you spooked, establishing a solid friendship before entering a relationship can also be helpful. Best of luck!
Sometimes its good to read such articles as it puts things into perspective. I recently broke up with my fiance as I could not handle the double standards and constant abuse. Having said this though she has completely ruined me as a person and i would love to understand how one minute i was everything and now im her worst enemy and the cause of all her problems, really struggling to cope and its more sad to think after all thw torture i
This article describes in perfect detail a five month long relationship I had with a girl with BPD last year. It was without question the most crazy, intense five months of my life. I’m a classic “nice guy” and she’s an extreme BPD (she received the diagnosis years ago and has pretty much every symptom except cutting). I still see her almost everyday because we’re in school together, but she hasn’t spoken to me in seven months and goes out of her way to ignore me, reject me, walk around and away from me, etc. I’m still head-over-heels in love with her and have had to spend the last seven months in therapy with a Schema therapist in order to find healing. I constantly fantasize about getting back together with her for exactly the reasons you state in the article. In particular, I feel that she misunderstood my intentions due to her relationship insecurities (constantly accusing me of cheating on her, of talking about her, etc).
I’m a little confused, however. On the one hand, the article seems to suggest that these relationships can’t work and that it’s actually best for the nice guy to get out if he can only get himself to realize what’s best for him. On the other hand, you feature dialogue techniques that help to assuage the out-of-control emotions and thoughts that plague such relationships and that help to develop a sense of trust and security in the BPD partner. So, should a “nice guy” such as me give up on such a relationship or should I learn these techniques really well and not worry about avoiding BPD partners too much?
By the way, your website, blog, and materials are really great. Some of the best I’ve seen and I think I’ve just about read it all at this point. Thanks!
That is a really great question. The answer to which men should choose to stay in a relationship with a woman with traits of BPD and use techniques that stop the negative behaviors and which should leave depends on how extreme these behaviors are and how committed the relationship is.
If your girlfriend is acting in defensive ways due to oversensitivity but in the rest of her life she behaves in a healthy way, then using these techniques to help her get over her fear of betrayal of you is a viable option. Likewise, if you are in a marriage or have a child with a woman with traits, even if her problems are severe enough to be diagnosed, using the technique to stop the behaviors is also a viable option.
But it’s important to remember that these techniques do not heal BPD. They only stop the defensive behaviors that women with traits of BPD engage in with their relationship partners and with family members, which is only one of many aspects of the condition. Although there might be a desire for someone who is married or with children to preserve their relationship, it is not generally recommended for men that are looking for a healthy relationship but who ended up with a woman who is not emotionally healthy by mistake, no matter how enamored of her he may still be.
The reason these techniques are offered is because many women with these traits do not begin the devaluation phase until they are in a committed relationship or have a child with their partner. This leaves their partner in a very difficult situation. The set of techniques you are referring to are for committed partners or family members to be able to create a safe and abuse-free relationship. However, neither the pain a woman with BPD experiences in her everyday life nor her behaviors with other people will improve unless she gets help for herself.
Thanks for bringing this up, and I hope that helps to clarify it.
I just had to comment on how helpful I have found your writing and analysis. After 2 years of recovering from a harmful ex, of being frustrated at online articles that refer to me as a codependent which I am not, of not being a ‘whole person’ of which I am, this finally makes sense along with introducing a spectrum of behaviours. I have had to remove several dangerous BPD or Highly emotional females from my life, past ex’s and indeed my Mother. I am a nice person, that couldn’t figure out how I was attracted to this type of person, but really they attach on to me, with high impact initial relationship giving that soon fade into a roller coaster that was set to drive me insane. !8 months of that and 2 years to recover from it, I never saw it coming. I shall in future however, many many thanks
Many men are in your situation, and it is truly surprising how many women engage in this kind of behavior. The myth of the nice-guy type as an unhealthy or codependent individual creates an easy way out of dealing a social problem that needs some very serious public attention. Without available resources and education on what causes this behavior and why it is so common among women it becomes very difficult for men to get the sense of clarity and separation they need to disengage and move on from these kinds of relationships.
Personally im kind of surprised that no one commented about being a bit offended by this article. Yes, I do have bpd, however I can say with 100% honesty that I am not selfish in the least in my relationship. And yes I have a problem with emotional regulation and emotional intensity HOWEVER bpd DOES NOT guarantee that every relationship is doomed to failure or that people with bpd are all abusive, selfish, unreliable, hypocritical, or untrustworthy. I feel that you are stereotyping people with bpd unfairly. You are speaking about this is very general and negative terms, and honestly I wonder what the nature of your experience is with bpd. I sincerely doubt you have it or you undoubtedly would be speaking in more sypathetic terms. If anyone reads this comment please understand every person is different and affected by bpd differently. There are red flags to look for but please don’t believe that we are all crazy psycho stalkers or abusive selfish destructive monsters. We are people who feels things more strongly than you do who suffer from different forms of depression and anxiety (highs and lows). Demonizing this disorder doesn’t help to educate anyone and it certainly doesn’t encourage understanding or healing.
right on. funny how bpd is an actual disorder and yet has the stigma of intentional manipulative behavior. extreme emotion is correct consciously trying to use or abuse anyone…. nope.
May be you do not understand what bdp is. In the disorder the woman is gentle and laughing with you. An hour later, according to her shift in mood, is raging and attacking you…
We may not exactly blame the woman but truth is such a woman is damaging to the people in their lives.
wow this gave me a clear view into my relationship. I now know what to do and how to handle the situation -isaiah
I am a fifteen year old girl with BPD and Bipolar II. I’ve never been in love and I’m hoping to keep it that way. You see, I understand the way I think and the fears I have. That being said, even if I am to fall in love, I would never pursue it, but force my feelings down. I understand that that is not healthy and that I am emotionally sick.
I somtimes have vivid images of violence when I am hurt, and that is where my motto comes into play, “I can’t control my emotions; but I can control myself.” Needless to say, I outgrew kindergarten ten years ago. I understand violence is not the answer (my sister and mom’s dog can set me off). I control myself by locking myself I the bathroom (the only room with a lock) when my sister and I fight (only when we’re alone).
And men and women who abuse their mates/spouses are not great people. It’s people that refuse to admit that there’s any wrong with them that abuse their spouses. And that is in no way forgivable. But to say that all of us are immediately abusive is a generalization. Yes, we feel, and we feel deeply. But that’s not going to stop anytime soon and we’re not going to get any better magically. And make no mistake: I am not proud of the things that SEVERE BPD people do. I hate my affliction and wish I could rid myself of any residing paranoia. My fears go so far that, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve decided to avoid anything resembling or related to marriage. And I dislike hurting people so no dating and no casual err…. stuff. Sincerely,
Thanks for your comment. You have done a very good job in identifying this disorder at such a young age so you can get the help you need to heal from it. That’s a very tough diagnosis, but hopefully you know that there is very effective treatment available now for people with borderline personality disorder which will allow you to be able to be in relationships without fear that you might hurt the person you are with. I wish you the very best in your recovery.
Not sure if my 45yr old ex gf has BPD or npd but she cheated on me multiple times before breaking up over what she said was lifestyle differences because my home was too modern,I was to clean and tidy,I didn’t drink and her teen daughter hates me.she said we didn’t know each other and shouldn’t have lived together,that I wasn’t who they thought I was and that her kid will always hate me.that she was confused and didn’t know what she wanted and that you never know what may happen in a few months.
We lived together for 3 years and dated for 1..her daughter hated me from day one and it just got worse..the break came after the daughter had a violent fit after I ate something she wanted (I didn’t do it deliberately)..my ex argued we not break up but live apart till kids grow up and I agreed but said that if she felt as though it was working to be upfront and honest and break up as an adult..week later she broke up ..I had not heard from her in a week since moving out
.what I didn’t discover till a month later is that she had been cheating for at least 6 months with multiples…she finally admitted to cheating with one random she picked up after I presented evidence but I’m sure there was another but didn’t have evidence..3 months prior to break I caught her setting naked pics and bedroom secrets to an ex ,she was blind drunk at time so I called her up on it the next day.she denied any knowledge of having done it and when presented with the msg was not apologetic nor distressed she dismissed it as a drunken mistake and that was that..I tried to get her to open up as to why but she refused to discuss it further saying she loved me..
During last 2 years of Rs she became drunk at least weekly and hurled insults at me such as
Your going to grow to be a fat old man
Your hobby is embarrassing (she introduced me to hobby as a Xmas gift)
Don’t you want. To look beautiful for your girl (insisting I go to gym)
You will never find one as beautiful to me to love you (when I discussed breaking up over the child)
When we would go out for dinner ect she would try to force me to drink and get upset if I didn’t
Her cell ph acct came to my email address it how I caught her out and in the 4 weeks after our break she was in contact with 4 different men incl the cheater..when the affair ended during those 4 Weeks she tried 2 others dialing 2 numbers every 5min for 6 hours straight with no answer then finally took up the offer of an aquaintance of ours one who had been on her social media list our whole relationship..he is 57yr old,wealthy,drinks,parties and is obese she denied having cheated with him but they were intimate and living together imeadiately and she and he posted public pics on social media the week she had admitted to cheating.
There was no empathy,no remorse,no emotions displayed when she admitted to cheating or when I asked why she posted pics so soon after her admission when clearly she knew I was devestated she just,didn’t care about me
I’m at a loss as to what I did for her to loose her respect for me I stood up to her abuse but it didn’t change anything
Shortly before breakup she told me that we should go back to the start cause we had lost respect for eachother what she meant was she had lost respect for me because she was cheating at this time but I didn’t know or suspect..in hindsight perhaps I shoulda given her an ultimatum to shape up or ship out …were are done now it’s been 16 months with 13 nc and she imeadiately entered into new relationship which appears to be going well he is a drinker like her and much wealthier than me plus they share mutual friends..
@50 I’m fearful of dating plus have no idea where to start as I don’t drink and over the bars and clubs
I’m very lost and only feel marginally better than I did after the break
I’m sorry this happened to you. There is no way to tell whether she has BPD, but she certainly demonstrated the behaviors associated with it. For people who have the ability to treat others kindly it can be extremely difficult to comprehend this kind of destructive behavior. I hope you take heart in realizing that the relationship skills you possess are valuable. Unfortunately, the mistaken assumption that most people have the ability to override their selfish interests to give to another human being can leave you wide open to being taken advantage of by those who lack these skills.
Thanks Joanna I’m struggling with the idea it may have been me cause my replacement is a “nice guy” type and their still together after 16 months..she jumped from me to the cheater to him in 4 weeks granted he is wealthier than me and it could be just the $$ since she wanted a free ride from me. In exchange for porn style sex,I believe she felt entitled and that any man would be lucky to have her because she is very beautiful and a pro with sex ..she never helped financially lamenting during our final year at having to contribute to my mortgage which she initially did freely without me asking (we moved into my new home and placed hers for rent) she never shared her rental income and used the accumulated rent to refurbish her home just prior to breakup…she rarely contributed to housework which was my biggest complaint and frequent topic of discussion…I think I got used for financial and emotional security as she wanted me to sell my home to buy a cheaper one so we would have more $$ but she didn’t want to sell hers to contribute..
We both worked and earned equal income granted she had 2 children to support and that’s why I didn’t ask for financial contribution but with her rental income it would not have inconvenienced her to contribute to some of the bills..all she did was buy food once a fortnight when kids over and God help me if I touched as much as a biscuit “it’s the kids food she would say” sadly she wasn’t so selfish and uncaring during our first year or so then she just turned and I have no idea why..
I know she’s gone for good but some closure would’ve been helpful..I did try 2 months after break but all I got was half truths,obsification and more gaslighting ..
Based on my posts is it likely she will treat my replacement better or is it cause he is wealthier that a free ride won’t bother him…
Women who have a personality disorder who don’t get help will generally treat each of their subsequent partners the same way. However, if she does not have a disorder but is engaging in this behavior based on entitlement issues because of her beauty, then she may very well have simply found another nice guy, but one who is willing to allow her to use him without setting healthy boundaries as you did. Whether she has a personality disorder or not she is an abusive personality type. It can take a long time to regain perspective and heal from this kind of relationship.
ah so long as he remains a compliant nice guy and gives without receiving other than sexual gratification the relationship will last in any case he is far more compatible than I due to lifestyle and $$$$ and perhaps that’s why I was abused she wanted out but didn’t have courage so abused me thinking I would breakup first and the cheating was simply to secure a new partner as she can not be alone I doubt it mattered who he was so long as he was available and compliant….I understand now that’s not what I want from a partner if it were just sex it be easier and cheaper to use a prostitute..I’m still that same nice guy but I set boundaries the only reason I persisted is cause I’m a fixer type and honestly believed her abuse was due to the child’s hatred for me thinking that if we could just stay together long enough for kid to mature she would revert back to who she was in the beginning..also it’s fear I’m 50 and the dating pool is messy at this age a lot of damaged souls especially women..most don’t want Rs and are happy single which is sad really..my mom recently asked a friend of ours if she knew any single women she said she knew tons but none want or need a man due to past damage..myself I’ve been damaged twice and still hold out hope there is a stable mature woman for me..
16 months on and my depression is lifting,I’m back in the gym and looking pretty dam good physically for an old bugger but I do still ruminate as to wether my nice guy personality triggered her abuse or perhaps I just wasn’t what she wanted all along..I’ve been reading you blogs and articles and I hope next time I can spot a cluster b and run
Chalk this one up to experience along with the last..at least she didn’t take my assets..I’ve heard some horrific atrocities these disordered women and men carry out its inhumanie the things they say and do and yet it’s getting worse and there is zero education I didn’t even know what cluster b was till I google “no remorse,no regret,no empathy,no guilt”. The first string was the heading “sociopath” followed by narcs and bpd
Thanks again jonanna fine service your giving those of us who need it most
Btw generally how long should it take for the rumination a and self blame to stop
Based on your last comment, I would say that you are at the end of your healing process. I would agree with each of your assessments, and that kind of clarity and big-picture perspective is what finally allows you to answer all of your questions so you can be at peace with your decisions and start to move on.
I’m quite concerned about the advice of this article which seems to be to abandon any “women exhibiting traits of BPD.” Why don’t we talk about how suicide is at its highest rate for men and women with BPD. Why don’t we acknowledge that men and women are sufferers from BPD at equal rates, but that in the past more women have been diagnosed with it than men because in our society its “OK” for men to ehibit anger and aggression? Why don’t we talk about the trauma that is unasked for and often unknowingly inflicted upon a person in childhood or adolescence that leads a person into emotional dis-regulation? Why don’t we talk about Dialectical Behavior Therapy which has been evidenced to be extremely successful in reducing BPD symptoms for sufferers? Why don’t we talk about the immense pain the sufferers of BPD endure as a result of their treatable illness? OR we can ignore the ills in our society and families that allow for trauma to be inflicted upon helpless children and then abandon them as adults for their loudest cries for help… You decide.
Hope, why dont you go to a forum which supports bdp rather than commenting on one which helps surviving a relationship with one.
I can guarantee that you would find an army of minions answering all of your Whys.
Thank you for this article, it has opened my eyes to what happened to me,
I am one of these ‘nice guys’ and have been to hell and back recovering from a 4 month relationship with a woman with traits of BPD who sought me out on a dating website. It has been the most traumatic and awful experience of my life. She was everything I ever wanted early on, but after three months and almost overnight, she changed from a loving, thoughtful, considerate human being into a completely different person and emotionally abused me. The final straw was when I took her on an all expenses paid trip to beautiful Venice where she treated me terribly. I had the courage when we returned to end things as I was no longer willing to put up with her behaviour and I deserved a whole lot better. However, nice guy that I am, I relented and said I wanted to be there for her through this tough period in her life. Two weeks later, she dumped me on the flimsiest of reasons.
The moral of this story is that the ‘nice guy’ has to make the decision to end things and stick to it. Because, take it from me, if you don’t and she does the ending, it will take you a lot longer to recover from the experience.
Thanks for sharing your experience and your message of how important it is to try to disentangle from this kind of relationship earlier rather than later.
I think I dated the same woman,are you from Scotland by any chance?
I found this website to be just excellent! This article perfectly explains my relationship to my wife in our very short marriage which has just ended in divorce. To the men out there who have been in a relationship with a woman with BPD traitsI recommend this website and getting a book called “No More Mr. Nice Guy” which provides practical ways to get out of our “nice guy” syndrome.
I have bpd and I have an honest question. I have not tried to have a relationship in a long time and I prefer to be an escort (and yes I am bpd with a very harsh childhood/early adulthood history). I am amazingly beautiful, so much that I am up there in attractiveness as many celebrities. I am good at picking out the perfect makeup/clothes to bring it out. Frequently, clients attempt to date me but I feel they are only trying to scam me out of paying for my service. I know I’m not normal, yet why should I try to be? Why should I change for a man? In my experience, and even other women I’ve observed, men are only looking to use women for sex and they’ll say anything to get it. Then I also see so many married men calling for my services. Many of them even ask for unsafe sex and they often perform unprotected oral sex, then go home to unsuspecting wife. Why should I make an effort to trust a gender that is mostly untrustworthy? I laugh at sex addiction. There’s no such thing. Its just men being men. Men cannot love the way a woman does. So why? I feel like I do enough by being single and not hurting anyone. I also maintain my appearance and provide a pleasant service. I don’t think I owe anyone more than that.
You certainly get to choose how to live your life, and if you are not hurting anyone, then no one has a right to make any judgments on those choices. Most women who are diagnosed with BPD want to change in order to be able to live their everyday life without debilitating pain. I wouldn’t say that they change for anyone but themselves. I understand your perspective of male behavior, but I disagree that all men are as you describe. If your perspective was accurate about all men, I could support your reasoning for staying emotionally disengaged from men. But I do agree that in order to find a man who doesn’t engage in the behaviors you describe may be difficult. My personal opinion is that there are many women who do not learn how to control their emotions who are destructive towards men, and there are also many men who do not learn how to get in touch with their emotions who are destructive towards women. It seems as though you have had a lot of experience with men who have this problem.
Thank you for the article. It was very insightful. I just finally broke free of a BPD partner after a nine month relationship, three month break up period, and 30 days of hell as she conned me into thinking there was a possibility of us reconciling.
This relationship has affected me in ways that no man could ever describe. I have searched the web for articles that can help me begin the healing process. I have one question for you though that I just can’t seem to find an answer for online.
When a BPD partner (female) is in her “happy” mood as I call it, flirting, showing affection, saying I love you, acting in ways that a romantic partner in love would; is it real or an act? Does she really feel, in the moment, the things she is saying, or is it a carefully planned manipulative scheme?
I truely never felt this connected and close to a woman before because of the things she said and interaction we had. It felt so damn real. But in order to move on, I just have to know if any of it was real.
That’s a great question. When a woman with traits of BPD is in her “happy” mood, yes, she is 100 percent feeling it. The reason these proclamations of love are so compelling is that she is not lying. She is not manipulating. She will have complete belief in whatever emotional state she is in. What she lacks is moral maturity. She does not take responsibility for the consequences of her emotions.
She may have kicked you to the curb in anger. Then she may notice that once you’re gone she is feeling very warm towards you. But instead of looking at the consequences of this kind of push pull and stopping herself, she gives in to her emotions. So there can be some awareness of the moral consequences of her decisions, but she doesn’t take them seriously. We might say that she is using her partner because she is aware that she is pushing and pulling. But it’s not outright manipulation. It is emotional immaturity or the lack of understanding that she needs to control her actions.
Women with traits of BPD when they are in their idealization phase will actually be seeing all the good things about you. They are extremely empathic and can read emotions fluently. What your girlfriend may have seen in you and reflected back to would be your real qualities. So it does feel very real and in a sense it is. However, the intimacy which feels so comforting to a healthy person will be terrifying for her. Her defenses will kick in and she will have to revert to her negative perspective of you in order to feel safe from betrayal or being taken advantage of.
Thank you for the reply. It is amazing to sit back, read your response, and have it resonate so much with my situation. The more I research this ‘condition’ the more I see similarities in other’s experiences.
I think the most disturbing part for me is how fast her moods could swing. Sometimes she would be highly flirtatious and reach out for attention 5-6 times a day for a week, then the next morning, completely silent.
Are you aware of any good materials (books) that cover bpd in women, in detail? The more I read, the closer I feel to moving past this.
I’m so glad to hear that this blog has been helpful for you. I wish I could point you to some useful books, but this is a very new area of study and people are only just beginning to understand what is behind this relationship dynamic. Unfortunately, as you have mentioned, the only way to heal from one of these relationships is to find a way to make sense of your experience.
To understand the individual troubling behaviors it can be helpful to do searches within forums for people recovering from BPD. This can give you a firsthand understanding of what causes these behaviors. But you also may need to get a solid understanding of the dynamics of both female emotional dysregulation and human defense mechanisms. The real motivation behind BPD behavior is often the exact opposite of what it looks like from the outside. So using common sense to try to understand the behaviors may actually slow down the process of recovering. I have done my best to provide some of this basic foundational information in several blog posts on this website.
Hey John, an excellent book that deals with this matter is called “that bitch”. Seriously, it helped me immensely to get over a three year relationship with a BPD woman. I bought it online.
That makes sense. Do you provide therapy for women like me, maybe over phone? I enjoy your writing and communication style. Thankfully, I am not suffering as much as before. At 31, I believe I am mellowing out. in fact, I did not become full bpd until age 26 when I had to give up my autistic children. Before that, I just hada few traits of it. Anyway, if. The counseling is not an option, I will still be reading here. Very insightful stuff.
I’m glad to hear you are doing better with it these days. I am not a therapist and am in the process of winding down my teaching schedule with individuals. But I am more than happy to answer any questions you have on your healing process by email.
I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty.
My wife and I have been going to marriage counseling for a year now. My wife and her 7 year old son have been going for much longer. At first my therapist thought that I was causing all of my wife her pain and that I was just a jerk for being the way that I am. I was constantly complained about being lazy, not doing anything around the house, not doing chores her way, not paying attention to her needs, not talking to her, not sharing, lying, being unfaithful. It wasn’t until I starting meeting with him individually that her realized AND diagnosed my wife with BPD. It was great because it helped me understand my confusion as WHAT THE HELL was happening and my self doubt wondering if I was really an ass and didn’t realize it or if there was something more going on. I am glad to know that there is something much larger at play. However my wife refuses to acknowledge any borderline traits as everything in the relationship is my fault. She also has been diagnosed with Hashimoto thyroid disorder which on top of all of this leads to memory loss, depression, weight gain, mood swings etc. My difficulty is this, at this time she refuses to receive treatment or even acknowledge either issue. I am working on my codependent traits or Nice guy traits but have reached my limit. I have told my therapist that I will be seeking a divorce if she can’t acknowledge and work towards beating either issue. I get the feeling that he is also at a loss with her because he isn’t gaining any ground, he tells me that in her eyes, I am the problem, and the only problem. Do I seek another therapist to work with or just accept that this is what it is always going to be like and go forward with a divorce?
Well, you have done what very few men have been able to do. You have gotten a marriage counselor to believe you over your BPD wife. That is no small feat. Couples counseling is actually very destructive for partners of women with traits of BPD because as a nice guy you are following the “rules” of couples counseling. You are keeping an open mind and playing fair and you have the ability to open yourself up to criticism.
Your wife does not have this capability. A woman with traits of BPD will be at her most defended in a situation where her flaws are being scrutinized. She will also realize she has the perfect audience to present herself as a victim. And she will have no qualms about throwing you under the bus.
I wish I could tell you to simply find another therapist, but at this point in time there is no training that addresses your situation. The therapist knows that if she is confronted, she will leave therapy. In order to work with a couple where the wife has BPD, she would need to be approached non-confrontationally, and the therapist would need to know how to move her from a dysregulated state into emotional regulation within the session. It can be done, but therapists are not trained in these techniques.
Marriage is an agreement to be on your partner’s side, to be fair and loyal. She has broken this contract, and as you said, niceness can only be stretched so far. I would recommend you go forward with your plan exactly as you stated it. However, be aware that many women with BPD take revenge and can cause serious damage to their ex’s reputation. I hope you will read up on this tendency and protect yourself as best you can.
Wonderful article! You covered many points that really hit home with my current situation. I wanted to ask though… I have been broken up with my Bpd girlfriend for 5 months now and have met and began a relationship with a very sweet nice girl. We get along great and she seems to be everything I want in a partner. But recently I have been obsessively thinking about my bpd ex and missing the craziness of her. We had great sex and i was very attracted to her. Although I am attracted to the new girl the sexual chemistry does not seem as strong. I’m thinking this is just a result of the roller coaster high and lows of my ex relationship that made everything seem more passionate. Can you share some insight on this? Thank you.
You bring up a very common theme in breakups with women who have traits of BPD. Hypersexuality is very common in women with traits BPD. Because men are not educated in female sexuality they often don’t realize that male testosterone is what causes a heightened sex drive and the lack of testosterone means women’s drive tends to be much lower. This lack of education can lead some men to mistakenly assume that the hypersexuality associated with BPD is sexual compatibility.
But aside from the need to lower expectations around sexual compatibility, it’s also necessary to lower expectations of passion after one of these relationships. Those highs and lows can lead to a mild form of psychological addiction even in those who did not have addictive natures before their relationship. There is a period of emotional sobriety or “coming down” from the addictive nature these relationships that most men need to go through.
But because you have been lucky enough to have found someone who may not have these traits you might need to go through this stage while within your relationship. It sounds like you have been making very healthy choices and your self-awareness levels seems solid enough that you should be able to move through this adjustment period without too much difficulty.
I just saw this reply. Thank you so much for giving me insight into this. Will continue to reference your articles while healing from my past.
Thank u for the article it helps me understand it’s not me. I just got out of a manipulative nightmare for 5 months u fall for the pity and think u can help but soon realize it’s a con.
Thank you so much for your insight into BPD relationships. I am just recovering from a 3 year nightmare with a sweet looking girlfriend straight out of hell. What amazes me the most is the fact that I played the knight in shining armor part down to the last detail. I took care of all her needs, supported her as best as I could, fell in love and in the end was left devalued, hurt, and with no understanding of what really happened. Have to admit that I clearly saw along the way many things that were just not right, but for the sake of the relationship looked the other way. I thought my understanding of human behavior was like a shield against this kind of woman but failed miserably, she is an outstanding con artist, able to read and play my deepest desires at the beginning of the relationship and then use all this as a tool to abuse and take advantage of it.
I disagree with the nice guy theory. I am a bpd woman, and I was married to a very selfish, narcissistic man for many years. He was emotionally abusive, unfaithful too many times to count, and addicted to pornography and sex with other women. I wad the one who stayed faithful and steady. I couldn’t leave because of my fear of being alone. I’ve been in therapy eight years, and I’ve made a lot of progress, however, I still have a long way to go. I am going out with a nice guy now, but I would never want to hurt him by acting out. I’ve acted out with my therapist too many times to count by leaving and coming back. He’s always taken me back so far. I keep testing him to see if he really cares. I don’t know if he will take me back this time – I doubt it.
is there any evidence that people who come to acknowledge they have traits of BPD have a better outcome than those who don’t?
DR, I assume you’re asking about standard treatment for the disorder. A person with BPD does need to at least acknowledge that they have difficulties with emotional regulation or control in order to be open to learning the skills they will be presented with in treatment. But they don’t need to acknowledge that they have a disorder to learn these skills on their own. DBT training is available to anyone and theoretically if you could get a disordered partner to accompany you to the classes, they could learn the skills necessary to overcome the disorder under the guise of you both learning mindfulness, which is a fairly popular self-development trend these days. They would, however, need to be dedicated enough to continue practicing these skills for the rest of their life as emotional regulation does not come easy to people with BPD.
These are tough times for a nice guy to be in romantic relationship.
It is better be a wise guy and use the knowledge and wisdom you provide to detect and avoid women who do not have the necessary skills to maintain a healthy and sustainable relationship.
And, as you’ve said, there are no guarantees. The likelihoods of falling for a emotionally immature woman may be decreased significantly though.
I hope more people read your site and I am recommending it to my dear friends.
I pity children who will be born from such dysfunctional partner combination. ‘Unplanned and unwanted’ pregnancies seem to be the a common theme regarding BPD and other impulsive people.
Well said, Diego, particularly the need for nice guys to become wise guys.
Wow… Extremely well written…It feels like you saw my life and wrote this…So completely apt…A few question though…My ex dumped me some 7 months ago…And the ditching was completely out of the blue on a phone call while I was out of station. This inspite her seeing me off a couple of days before and promising that she would never leave me (I never asked her that though). This girl definitely was a complete con artist and extremely selfish… I figured about her mental instability within a couple months into the relationship and even tried to leave as I doubted at that time that she could anytime assault me, but the con artist that she was, she never let me go( she would huh me and cry like hell)… And she had this unrelenting quench to get her things done by me…All hell used to break loose when I failed to do something…The relationship lasted for an year and a half during which time I never had time really to figure out what exactly her problem was…After the break up I felt soo devastated and almost convinced that she just used me as I never saw any remorse in her face…I felt really betrayed and became vengeful but I was controlled by my friends around me… There after I started researching online to make sense of what happened…That is when I came across BPD which completely explained every behaviour of hers…She had a divorce and a broken relationship before me…And her ex bf once happened to call me after my breakup misinterpreting my number as hers. I apparently had no idea about our relationship though she had maintained throughout that she had told him… And he sounded like one more of those nice guys when he tried to console me after learning about our relationship and breakup…He said all girls are hard and she is one of them…I gave him her number as that was what he wanted and we never spoke again…I suppose he tried to patch up with her and may be they are in touch over phone (he stays in the US while her & me here in India…I have a few things to clear up though…
2. Is it possible that these people dispice everyone including parents, relatives, siblings, colleagues & ex partners?
3. And now that l figured out so much about her, would it b wise to tell and possibly help this guy?
I suppose she knows her problem as her major is psychiatry (still doing her residency)
Rohit, these are very complex questions, but I will do my best to answer as simply as I can. Women on the spectrum of BPD are neither victims that we should pity nor are they evil monsters. They have the same morals that the average person has. However, their lack of experience and skill at regulating their emotions leaves them unable to control their negative impulses. They often don’t realize that controlling negative impulses is how the average person puts their morals into practice, so they may mistakenly believe that they are bad people. This belief can cause too much shame for them to express remorse even if they are feeling it.
They usually do not despise everyone around them. Instead they vacillate between idealizing and devaluing others. So sometimes they adore various people and sometimes they despise them.
As your ex is in a residency that would preclude her if her condition was exposed, chances are she is in considerable denial about her problem. Telling someone she knows that you think she has a mental condition could lead to a smear campaign, so it might be safest to let her old boyfriend research her problem on his own.
Thank you for your article. This sounds exactly like the situation I have been going through for the last 2 years. I’ve seen 4 counselors in that time and continued to hope that things would get better. My health has been the worst its ever been and I just try to do more and more in hopes that she would see my effort and love. I’m learning a lot through this process, but honestly I never wanted to leave the relationship,t hings just never changed and my health cannot sustain the roller coaster any more.
I just gave up romantic love after getting involved with a woman with strong BPD traits. Also, it saddens me to observe that the average western woman turns her back to nice guys so she can sleep around with bad and narcissistic guys in her teens and early twenties. When she realizes that she wants more than wild sex and that her looks are not that attractive anymore, she turns to the naive, sexually inexperienced nice, and eventually economically wealthy nice guy. At this point, she is more used than a public toilet possibly carrying a handful of STDs. Nicola, sorry if I this is not the main topic of your blog, I just wanted to say this for *young nice guys* that have trouble lying to get laid: derive your self-worth and self-respect from yourself only, do not use flirting and the modern woman (and any kind of external validation whatsoever) to feel better or prideful, this must be a daily and inner working. Also, do not look to the neighbors’ grass to see whether it is more greener than yours, instead, look at your own evolution over say 5 years time: are you more wiser?
Henry, I find any comparisons of a woman to a public toilet to be offensive and degrading. It is important to understand that although you are accurate that women in a narcissist society such as ours lose their ability to override their animal instinct and will choose narcissistic qualities over qualities of decency, associating a woman’s desire for sex with contamination has also been shown to be a primitive and instinctually-driven belief.
The consequences of the instinct to associate non-conforming behavior with contamination are very serious and can easily lead to violence towards minority groups or those who don’t conform. In fact, most of the common derogatory responses we hear these days towards nice-guy types are a result of people being unable to override their instinctual feelings of disgust towards men who don’t conform to the masculine ideal. Although it is very unfortunate that women no longer seem to appreciate nice-guy qualities, the inability to override the instinctual urge to degrade those who don’t conform has proven to be more damaging than the female instinct to value narcissistic types over nice guys.
I stumbled across your site in a moment of googling desperation I suppose. I have been with a woman, recently diagnosed with BPD a couple of months ago. We have been together for just over a year. She has a 12 year old son. For the first few months she was very kind and loving towards me. I suppose I suffer from this nice guy syndrome. I am nearing 40 with no children myself, and have had a mentally ill mother diagnosed with schizophrenia since I was 3. At first she was very attentive and understanding, and I made what i thought was a real effort at bonding with her son. He is a very smart and wise boy beyond his years and I firmly believe I made a positive difference in his life. I really like him and I know that we connected. But he had been developing a bit of a rebellious streak, no more so than I think many boys at his age go through. However she was not able to process this. She became increasingly agitated towards him, sometimes having physical altercations with him, and saying some very mean things to him. I know this now to be “switching”. Wherein a person becomes only bad in her eyes and there is no convincing her otherwise. She was raised in foster care, and subjected to sexual abuse as a child. I was only made aware of this recently. She also became increasingly volatile towards me as well. Especially when I would occasionally defend his recent behaviours (which were no more egregious than forgetting to do the dishes, or coming home later than his curfew). I was always careful to support her in her attempts to discipline him and keep him on track, even though at times I felt it was extreme. He is a good hearted kid, which is partially a testament to her efforts to provide him with a good community and support. I guess I really thought I was dealing with a strong woman, who despite her struggles made every effort to raise her boy, without a father in the picture. That said, one morning, after she had been outside in the yard drinking, after a confrontation with him, and he and I were both sleeping. She decided to attempt suicide. She injected herself with an overdose of some medication she had been given for eczema. I woke up to her seizing in bed. She spent the next month in the psych ward. I looked after him during this time while the doctors assessed her. I spent every night working with him on his homework and his teacher thanked me for whatever I was doing to motivate him. She was released with her BPD diagnosis, And within a week she was attacking him again. Blaming him for her suicide attempt. The Child welfare ministry removed him from the home for what was supposed to be a 3 month period, during which he was to stay with a family from his church community. During this time I was forced to have her admitted again as she was aiming to attempt suicide again. Taking the razors out of my shaving kit, which she ultimately swallowed. She has now been home for 2 months. She has refused to make any contact with the ministry and her son has been reluctance to speak with her at all. He is in a good home at present and his needs are met, so I think he is fearful of being put back into the situation. Because of her lack of effort to make contact with them they have now decided to remove him from the home permanently. She is not mentally capable of dealing with child welfare or very much else for that matter. So here I am. She is utterly dependant on me being here. She has shown moments of improvement, but she will still switch to demonizing me at the drop of a hat. I have been nothing but kind and supportive but feel at this point that hope is lost. She periodically blames me for losing her son, her suicide attempt and all manner of things. She can also switch back to being very loving and attentive. I want to believe that she can do better than this, but I am losing hope and it is taking it’s toll on me. I guess I wonder how she kept it together for 12 years before I entered the picture (though I know I am not the first man she has let into her and her son’s life). But I am terrified to leave. Despite all of this I still care for her very much, but she will officially have no one left. She has alienated many of her friends and still threatens suicide regularly. At one point I left and she begged me to return on her hands and knees. I relented. Am I a complete fool? Dialectical behaviour therapy is incredibly expensive where we live, and I work 2 jobs, but we are definitely low income. I guess I’m just feeling lost.
Trevor, this is such a terribly sad story. It sounds like you have a very clear understanding of what has happened and you are handling it with a great deal of strength. But with BPD this severe you need support and guidance for yourself. This is really a time when a professional needs to be brought in to help you make the decisions you need to move yourself out of this situation. I know therapy is very expensive, but even if you can only afford a few sessions, it is essential you get professional guidance on how to navigate through this very difficult time.
My HPD wife insist on divorcing. She cannot articulate why. I feel she has cheated but cannot accept the responsibility of it or anything she does for instance: got drunk til 6am and kicked me out for no reason. Anyways I am uncertain what to do with my nonbiological son with her. He loves me dearly and I love him. Is it safe to co-parent?
Rob, I am so sorry to hear this is happening to you. Whether you can get visitation or share custody with your step-son may be a legal question, particularly if there is a biological father in the picture. But as far as your psychological safety, that can depend on how severe her condition is and on how vulnerable you are to any emotional abuse you may have suffered in the relationship. A therapist who is familiar with personality disorders and parental alienation would probably be your best resource for how feasible this may be.
I posted on one of your other posts about the fact that I have recently broken up a three year relationship with a person who checks all the boxes and then some for BPD. I got to this post and read this – “Sadly, because the behavior patterns of a woman with traits BPD in the beginning stages of romance are indistinguishable from any other person in love, the best you may be able to hope for is that you don’t fall for this con again.”
What I didn’t say on the other comment thread is that this is the second time I’ve fallen for it in my life and, unfortunately, it has defined pretty much everything negative that’s happened in my life, when I thought it was going to be all positive.
I’m a scientist and, if you don’t mind me asking, how in the world did you get such a phenomenally accurate understanding of this? Everything you say is exactly what happened to me.
Phil, I wish I could take all the credit for my accuracy. But one of the more interesting aspects of BPD is the fact that because the cluster of personality traits that make women susceptible to the disorder are present in all women who develop the disorder, the behavior patterns produced by the traits are strikingly similar. Many men report on reading the stories of others who have been through one of these relationships that they feel like they were involved with the same woman. For this reason it can be very healing to read the stories of other men who have broken up with women who have these traits.
That is truly incredible in that what should be a really complex and diverse psychiatric disease (theoretically) that the “behavior patterns produced by the traits are strikingly similar”. OK, since you can’t take the credit for that, then you can take the credit for taking the time to put all this together for people like me. I honestly think you are an absolute star Joanna, and you should get awards for this. If I hadn’t found your site, I would still be tearing my hair out.
hi I’ve read a lot lately about women with BPD. I believe strongly that my ex now has BPD. she is in complete denial that anything maybe the matter with her.
Nobody wants to approach her. I have. At first I thought it was depression but it runs more deeply than that.
She pursued me for 2years wanting to be with me etc. We finally got together and she just reeled me in . She was a very nice person.
I did sense something the matter though just like very self centered. She Took everything as a pressure or like a attack whenever I asked something so minimal. She just had to be in control of everything.
People suggest BPD stems from childhood drama and she did have this. She had a bad rship before me too. I think it’s progressed overtime.
She would have total lack of self awareness and lack of empathy. Couldn’t show any emotion ! I found it very hard to accept and digest really. I would be the most thoughtful person and give her and her children special gifts etc and I barely even got a thanks for it.
She prob did like the gifts but struggles to show appreciation.
Also smoke canabis but it’s a secret and I eventually found out of which she just denies even though I had proof and yet she still denies.
Very childlike behaviour. Couldn’t answer a simple question like yes or no.
Doesn’t really express anger in the verbal form but moreso in actions. She does it in different ways.
Mainly everything she has a answer for and likes conflict. Could never plan things with me or struggles
I find all this very bizarre at someone who really wanted me. Tells everyone I’m the one and yet just ends it and not seen her since!! Total black and white personality. Went from hero to zero in a flash.
I asked things and she did the exact opposite. It’s like she purposely was out to ruin me. I can’t work out and nor can her family . Everything I say is truth.
Her reasons for splitting were such minimal things which you mentioned that they see it as something major! But when I even approached this she would say don’t devalue my thoughts and feelings. !! You just can’t win !!
I think she is so wrapped up in her own world now and she just sees herself as that’s who she is and nothing wrong with her. She has lied a lot and said she went doctors and he said nothing wrong!!
I think she has this massive poker face as I like to describe. It’s like talking to a brick wall.
She would I believe project how she feels as a person on to me and I’m one of the most genuine nice guys about really. I really do love her and she has put me through hell and still not realised what she has done is bad.
She has said some terrible things. She is unapproachable really. She just cannot express emotions. Why is this??
Another painful thing is she is so nice to her friends and bubbly and I just didn’t see any of that!! I cannot believe and still don’t comprehend what has gone on. It’s only since we split 4 months ago that I ve sat back and actually thought about it all moreso. I did put up with a lot and shrugged stuff off.
” I don’t need or want a man for nothing” she said a few times.
” I’m a broken person” she said but immediately shut the talk off when I ask what do you mean.
It’s easier I think for BPD sufferers to live how they are because they fear something bad will happen.
Partly the reason for our break. She probably feared I would end it so she did it !!
She feared commitment. Pulled me then pushed me away. And she wanted me for so long!!
I hope my comment help some people. I have personally been mentally abused. I’m 31 and a normal decent guy with a good career. It’s chipped away at me for so long and just talking about it helps.
Funny thing is I would say I’m this nice guy and I suffered with mental health before , anxiety etc and I know the battles people go through but the biggest leap is accepting there is a problem!!
So anyone readin this who is unsure or in denial etc or like me believe their ex or current partner had BPD then just speak to them.
I could talk for longer I really could.
If you would like to hear more then would be nice to talk. I like your page.
Just to add she always wanted to be do things alone. Well a lot of the time anyway.
I was a proper gent. I spoke , gave and showed my love to her and I got all this in return. I cannot believe it.
It’s hard. One of the worst things is she denies she has a problem and that I was the problem. !! Everyone knows this is not the case.
Everyone has arguments. She was very irrational. And took things very seriously ! But If distant my self abit then she would question that abit so I just couldn’t win atal.
It was a emotional rollercoaster. I think the person I first met was just a front just like she does when she sees her friends. And I think got too close for her comfort and she pushed me away.
Terrible really.i do think and will have to just assume that she has BPD as it just simply not normal behaviour and everything points to this.
She would rather struggle than have any help from me too. In anyway ! Why why why ! It was a mess.
Wanted me but didn’t want what a rship can give when your loved. I tried to make her feel special in everyway but it just didn’t seem to register with her thoughts and emotions really.
James, what you described is classic behavior, not for someone who has the disorder of BPD, but for a person who has the traits associated with the disorder. These traits are sensitivities that many, many women have. Whether they develop into full blown BPD by the time that individual is an adult depends on many factors. But whether a woman’s sensitivities are severe enough to warrant a diagnosis or not, the psychological effect on their partner is quite damaging. For more information about exactly why she acted this way, please take a look at my other blog posts that talk about the nice-guy/BPD combination. Thank you for telling your story. It is very helpful for others who have been through this to realize that they are far from alone in this experience.
Thankyou for your reply. She is 30 but had a hard time of it for many years.
Another things that has been said is ” why does everyone I love leave me”??
Even me reassuring her that I wouldn’t leave got me know where !!
I also read that this is a thought that many BPD have.
Ok so you think it’s classic signs of BPD but instead just traits etc.
Sorry to add another comment. But also she would be very manipulative and also gaslighted which made me second guess my self on even the most obvious of situations.
When your in the zone as such in the rship . You know there’s something not quite right but when you leave it it kind of all unraveled. The hurting part is that it was me that just wasn’t right for her. Funny that because I barely did anything wrong.
Everything was made difficult. There was always a negative to a positive. Always relates to her past and fears things I think.
It also hurts that nobody will confront her and say to see someone yet I speak up because I care so much and can see what has caused our rship to fail.
I hope some other (ex’s) partners etc can relate as I find it very helpful to read such things. Because I’ve been really just thinking at times “is it just me” and finding it hard to really believe my own thoughts because she was denying everything.
James I can understand where you are coming from. I have just ended a 1.5 yr relationship with a girl who I believe has the same issue. The first 4 months of the relationship were brilliant, we went on holiday and were both very happy. Then she would begin acting irrationally and I stormed out of her house one evening, which is when she confessed to having anxiety. As the months went on I believed it was more than that but she would never seek help. She would wake up crying and not want to go to work. I ended things but missed her terribly and we got back together. Again things were good for a while but she would blame everything on me. She would leave her coat at home because it was warm and then would say ‘why did you tell me to leave it’. I never said a thing about her coat. She would phone me up saying that I dont support her and am cold towards her. I would send her flowers and she couldnt even send me a card on our anniversary. I would ask her to visit me and she would make excuses and question why I did not understand her and that she needs someone else. I remember we had sex and she spent 1hr crying as there was a small stain on the bed. It was this point that I realised something was really wrong. Anytime I challenged her she would turn it back on me but i stuck by her until the last 2 weeks. I really could not see how things were going to get better but I do still miss her. I just have to move on and hopefully one day we can be friends. Its so frustrating when you know your right but she will insist on something completely irrational. She has moved back in with her parents which I believe highlights the issues she has. I just wish she could be the girl I met last year, they were such good times and I will treasure them forever.
Just one thing to add, she was the first girl that was willing to have unprotected sex on our first time. Looking back now this is one of the signs of BPD.
I think that to label the person afflicted with BPD as a Con, is an a very judgmental statement. Judge not lest you be judged. WE all have our faults. A more evolved perspectives say that that to ascribe intentionality to these behaviors gives the person too much credit. Rather, these instances that seem like manipulations are desperate attempts to get what they need to feel good, to escape psychological pain. The core of the problem is that their skill attainment has been stunted such that they do not know how to get what they want in a manner that preserves and enhances the relationship. A weaker partner will just give in to help calm things and or get past the scene without solving the problem. A knowledgeable partner will address the issue in a skillful manner without making things worse by acting angrily or getting drawn in to the same behaviors and emotionality. So, there is nothing wrong with being a nice guy. We all need to be intelligent about how things work in relationships and that takes a lot of studying and discrimination in what we read. A log of blogs are full of people who are just spewing anger because they have been hurt. Stuff better lerft for journaling or therapy. A learned person learns how to respect themselves and set important boundaries and this helps both partners to grow. Certainly the use of alcohol is something that I would say does not belong in the mix if you seriously expect to make making progress. It is something worth sacrificing if you chose to do so. It increases each of your sensitivities and makes you more reactive and impulsive setting the stage for more drama. The literature is full of data showing that DBT is something that while acknowledging that the person suffers intense emotions, it helps them to consider how they react to the emotions and learn to choose their behaviors. The support of a patient, kind and knowledgeable partner who expects to be treated with respect helps a person practice these skills. Both have choices to make if they value the relationship and each other. Some are ready and able given the right partner mix, others still need to learn the hard way. In the process both people grow and move forward and that is a big achievement given the constraints that are overcome. So please do continue the conversation, but remember that it is always best to be well informed, caring, firm, kind, understanding and consistent. Stay positive but insist on moving forward. You will either find your way out of the drama one way or the other.
The con is that particular girl not everyone with bpd
I struggle with some of the typical BPD traits (as I really think so many women and men do in some ways) and have a history of many 2-3 year relationships with “nice guys.” I’m now dating a nice guy who has strong boundaries and a strong sense of self, while also being “informed, caring, firm, kind, understanding and consistent.” He doesn’t allow himself to get entangled in my stuff because he has the confidence to know that it’s my stuff and not his. He also has worked hard in his life, through therapy, relationships, and his career, to develop extraordinary communication, interpersonal, and relationship skills. I’ve “warned” him what can happen to me and what my patterns have been in relationships and even about BPD in particular. He seems to understand, and he says he can take it. I hope he’s right! We’re only a few months in, but so far, so good. (As I read this, I fear I may be idealizing him. )
For my own part, I’ve worked very hard over the past 20 years to develop my own skills and self awareness, so I think I have a pretty good idea of what traits are important for me in a partner so that we can support, learn from, and grow with each other rather than reduce and denigrate. If you have your own “porous boundaries,” then seek a partner whose boundaries are more defined.
Thanks, again, for offering a measured, thoughtful perspective.
That post is the best analysis I have read anywhere on BPD.
This is so sad. I hope women with bpd are not reading this!! Both parties in every relationship have to take full responsibility for their actions. The scenario you have played out is from a very narrow view point. Casting the “nice guy” against the terrible Tyrant with bpd is not helpful to the woman so I’m assuming this piece was written for men in abusive relationships? Or perhaps you know someone in this situation?
Wow ,like everyone else says , it’s like you talking about my girlfriend!!
I been with her for 16 months and same accusations, lieing , no empathy , no compassion for others and only nice when is on the take ,slowly losing friends and family due to issues . yes am nice guy too and put up with all the crap like a fool ,I said sorry when I was not even in the wrong to keep peace and generally kiss ass , well I finally snapped and stormed round there and told her everything she is and what she does and said this is not working and let’s call it a day and then that’s when the tables turned lol, now she is kissing arse and doing what I was doing and she had the cheek to say
(Oh you not being very loving ) really I said not a nice feeling is it !! Well I hate to make it sound like revenge cause I am so not that kind of person but it’s what they do to you and it’s shocking
I am a decent human being but won’t be a doormat to walk on , no I wasn’t always perfect but I was pretty close to be being a good partner
I now just don’t care and all my love I had has gone and just in the process of the break up , at the moment I feel I won’t feel the heartache a lot of people feel as I not been the one in the wrong 95% of the time and tbh I really don’t like her anymore as she is just a not very nice person , so hopfully won’t feel to much pain and she don’t cause me to much grief as the end is near . It is a terrible illness for the bpd sufferer and i know
I tried to understand and help whever I could but everyone has a point of sorry I won’t take this anymore .
Personally I don’t think it’s possible to have a ltr with a bpd unless the non will just accept a life of pain and grief and just be the doormat , I’d rather be single than have a life of regrets , that’s just my story and I don’t know any other bpds personally so can’t comment
good luck to anyone who is giving it a go , hopefully your situation is better than what mine was .
Women with traits of BPD may appear to be capable of overriding their natural selfishness when they are in the throws of new love. …
My nice girlfriend changed overnight into an unrecognizable opposite image of herself. from confident funny and intelligent to dumb argumentative woman.
Later I saw borderline personality disorder and it was describing her.
The ability to shift from social to selfish was baffling me until I have read this statement.
I now finally have peace in finding out the alien that swallowed my beautiful adorable girlfriend.
An over trusting guy here.
that just explained my girl toa glove- she has been in PA for 3 months- each morning I get the call or text hey baby have a good day by noon it starts by 5 it’s on by 8 it’s full blow- typical dr jeckyl mr hyde- NEVER ENDS been going on 3 yrs till I made her leave a few months back- thought she’d get a grip- finally realize NOT GONNA HAPPEN- best thing to do is give up my number that I have had forever and change email- feel like I got to go into witness protection- this sucks- thought I could help her but it’s bringing me down
Oh my goodness. Wow. You just summed up my 19 year marriage ending in divorce with my abusive BPD ex wife who cheated multiple times on me.
10 years married, one seven year old son. Wife has been diagnosed throughout life with many diagnosis, even BPD. Current therapist just say depressed, of course she cannot be telling everything. Wife certainly has BPD traits. Now she is in a horrible depressive state, and I am getting her into a 2-month hospital treatment program. One previous meds she was full of rage, raging over everything, now utterly depressed. It really tired me out. One point of contention, we have moved into three houses since married. Now she wants to move again, because she is lonely, yet she is the one that picked the house! I have fixed it up, and have so much money tied into it, I could lose my retirement if this keeps happening. I believe loneliness is self generated, but how do you convince someone of that? Selling a house can be detrimental when equity is low. I have explained things many times, and even thought things out, but over a month it just goes in one big circle. It is like she forgets she agreed this is not a wise move, but then it always comes back. Continuously wants change to fill her void, and yet this kind of change can be destructive to our financial future, not to mention changing my child’s school yet again. Any suggestions?
Dee, you are in a difficult position. The need to fill the emotional void tends to cause obsessive and sometimes addictive urges in women with traits of BPD. So it’s crucial that you stand your ground as best you can to protect your financial resources. It is very difficult for women anywhere on the spectrum of BPD to recognize the difference between being supportive of one’s spouse’s long-term goals and dreams and supporting any impulse or momentary urge they may have. It sounds like patiently setting your boundaries whenever this comes is working in your case. This approach over time can provide partners with a sense of boundaries they are unable to provide for themselves.
After years of marriage, five years ago my wife started quickly to show intense BPD characteristics. (They were there to a lesser level all along, but I just thought my wife was very sensitize and vulnerable). I have been reading many sites over the last five years as I have struggled to understand and respond to the overwhelming BPD traits of my wife. I appreciate the articles on this site, and I appreciate the comments sections just as much.
I think the picture painted here of the relationship between people with BPD and their partners is an accurate one. My wife did not ask to have this, and it has impacted much of her life negatively, not just in our marriage. She deserves my understanding and support. When my wife tells that she loves with every ounce of her being, she is speaking with total truth from her heart. But when my wife yells, slaps, hits in the middle of the night from hell that she hates me and I am the worst person in the world, I also now understand that she is also speaking from her heart at that moment to.
I have experienced all kinds of abuse, including physical. I vowed when this began that I would stay with her and work it through, However, she has never been able to stay in therapy, and believes all is my fault, and that if I would just love her it would solve all our problems. I finally have told my wife that I can not take the behavior any more, and that if she will not participate in professional help and recognize that her actions and behaviors can’t continue like this, then our marriage will end. I have a lawyer and am going forward on a separation as a first step.
I feel with all my heart I owed her these years to try.
wow!! I am truly astonished that you know so much about BPD yet you are forgetting the vital traits of this personality. I have BPD and for years I have punished myself about my erratic behaviour, I have felt shame where my emotions can’t be controlled. I have been in relationships where I have genuinely felt as though I had been betrayed and so I felt deeply hurt. Now I look back on those relationships and have realised that perhaps it was my intense fear of being abandoned along with my truly negative mind, that created this scenario and ensured I believed it.
Now as for BDP traits; they are uncontrollable. We are not CON ARTISTS, we simply want love and adoration but we feel such intense emotions that we become suspicious and frightened if all of a sudden our ‘nice guy’ partner can’t be arsed to make the effort anymore. Let’s face it all men do that eventually! Become lazy and complacent in a relationship whether they are nice or not.
Sometimes I don’t even know who I am from one day to the next because my feelings and emotions change as a way of protecting myself I guess. I have suicidal thoughts at least once a month but I am now at a stage in my life where I can diminish them fairly quickly. I am also with someone who knows these things about me and is willing to help me learn to deal with them and perhaps change my mind set. Because he has stuck by me, I respect him more than anyone I have ever been with before. I know that if I was to ever cheat, he would be gone. He loves me and my BDP but he has respect for himself and he has a backbone. That’s what a women with BPD needs so stop making us feel like we aren’t worthy of love because we are just as worthy as you and this ridiculous article along with these truly pathetic and non-factual comments are part of the reason this mental health illness exists. It comes from trauma and bullying and the fear of being hated. So what have you done? You have fulfilled our strongest concerns, luckily I am far enough along in my illness to know that people like you will not take up all of my day now, I will not worry anymore after I have hit the post comment box!! You better hope that someone with this illness, who perhaps hasn’t gained a lot of strength with coping with it, sees this when they are low. You could end up feeling VERY guilty if you were to know the pain they may inflict on themselves. You should be ashamed!
Thank you a thousand times for your work and the kindness you have exhibited by posting your research and learning for all to see.
This article is completely unfair. I am currently in recovery of bpd, and I have to say that what you said in your article is not always the case. Just because we have this disorder does not mean we are monsters, con artists, anything else you would like to call us. We are not bad people. We are just people who have a hard time regulating our emotions, which makes it very hard to control our behaviors. When I read your article, it seemed to me that you were saying that those with bpd cannot control their behaviors. This is so inaccurate, because it is possible with the right treatment. And we have feelings just like anyone else and are all equally deserving of love. Having a disorder such as borderline personality disorder does not mean we deserve harsh criticism and hate, especially when many of us have had to suffer traumatic childhoods.
No matter what it left ous both in such pain that heart both of ous there was nothing easy about this new I’m stoke can’t fix anything this mixed up god lord I can’t even hard reboot and start all over they wanted me to fall and her to stay in there control ! Thank you I’m truly sorry to all about all this but I will never love another more then I was in love with her !
There’s too much to say ,if anything I’d like to say once then never again I’m sure she is the same way ,thank you goodbye !
No offense but your writing is very derogatory, I was diagnosed with BPD and later on I was rediagnosed with PTSD. The “nice guy” you talk about my lovely wonderful ex was the one with BPD not me and he put me through a lot of trauma and was manipulative enough to gaslight me into looking like I was the one with HIS problem. So before you go pointing fingers at all these women as bad and evil and unstable. Why don’t you REALLY examine the nice guy, and see if he’s really that nice.
I hate to be brutally honest, but this is exactly what seems to happen, the flaws get projected on the other person. can guys have borderline personalities, sure, but i think studies show this is much more common in women, maybe you should ask someone neutral who knows you both well and let them tell you what they think each of your flaws are. This will give you good perspective, you may be right, he may be right, or maybe its a mixing bowl of issues. I consider myself nice, not in the typical “gaslight” a girl with roses and fancy dinners nice, but nice in that im willing to do just about everything i can and step out of my comfort zone as much as possible to make someone i care about happy, with one exception, long term mental abuse. once i notice a pattern i think i can never fix or make right again i have to leave. Ive had so many problems turned around and falsly placed on me its not even funny, and when you havent reached a point to where your a little keen as to whats going on you actually think some of it may be your fault. looking back at those i feel shared these BPD traits, i can say i think my portion was anywhere from 5 to 10 % of the problem, and im pretty quick to admit when im wrong i dont really care, i dont always have to be right. Now i can tell you when i was younger getting caught up in this can make you take on some of the same traits, her insecurities can wind up beings his too, but as I got older i learned to stay with who i cared about, try my best and if nothing could repair it or she put up as many walls as she could to prevent me from repairing it, but still wanting me to stay around, i finally just cut off communication with no explanation so no response is needed or no argument starts
Yep, been through it two maybe 3 times, I usually come to my senses at the year mark as the relationship has usually degraded enough by that point.
You will find sometimes they are very loving, other times they are looking at your every action thinking it will mean more than it really does.
I am a nice guy up to a point, then afterwards it will start to vent out of me, and all of the past mental abuse will be right there with it and you will never forget it, you can try but you can’t, at that point it’s easier to leave.
You will find that they will twist all arguments into being your fault and sometimes to the point of asking yourself “am I really that stupid when it comes to women?” But you will soon realize that if you address some of your flaws that are flaws but they are really overreacting to, they will jump on something else.
Sometimes you will find that if they are feeling bad but can’t at the moment find a single logical thing to argue about they will come up with something so random it will leave you thinking “wtf”.
There are such a myriad of different ways women approach this type of insecurity that you couldn’t completely define it.
They will manipulate you, not so much as to get what they want in terms of things, but what they need to feel good. Most are completely unaware and lack the insight about it, if they did they wouldn’t have the problem or you couldn’t really call the borderline. So they aren’t really to blame no more than a person with OCD is to blame for being over organized.
You find that they emotionally drain you, you don’t know this at first but long after the relationship you think what was I doing!
I’ve had one that would be very charitable with money and things to the needy etc, maybe this was a way to overcompensate for being emotionally selfish. I was the one accused of being selfish that time lol.
Another one was not so much like that but hurt herself on purpose to get sympathy, but kinda hit the nail on the head for the borderline description.
I’ve found that most will realize that you care about them on some level but on the another they dont. So they know you want to stick around but don’t if that makes any sense. I find this because they will sometimes threaten a breakup to get a response from you even though they have no intention of actually wanting that and use it as leverage to make them feel more secure that you won’t leave them.
They will try to change every aspect about you they don’t like and sometimes will even admit their flaws but will never change for any length of time. This will cause you to revert back to just being yourself feeling they didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
At any rate this is 100 percent doomed to fail in all cases. It’s best to when you recognize it just pull away slowly and try to avoid any big blowout fights even though you may not be able to.
Is this really them just being an asshole to you? Not really it is a mental problem. The same can be said for men who physically abuse women, they also have mental problems, men tend to act aggressive, while women more passive-aggressive when letting anger or the feeling of being hurt out.
Ash, thank you so much for your very insightful input on this blog post and the others as well.
I would like to share my story about my now twice ex girlfriend that exhibits many, many traits of someone with BPD. I first met her at work about 6 years ago. We dated for 3 years then she left me right out of the blue and cut me off. Right as we were looking for engagement rings, she freaks out and ends its.
Fast forward 2.5 years. I get a message from her through social media…”hey”. We started texting for approximately 3 months until we finally met for coffee and started seeing each other again for 8 months until it ended 2 weeks ago…and again, it was right out of the blue.
After our first break up, I was devastated. I couldn’t make sense of it. I even went to therapy where my therapist even agreed that she has some sort of personality disorder (she also displayed narcissistic traits). I searched the internet and found all kinds of information to decipher her crazy-making behavior like how one minute she tells me she wants to marry, and next she is leaving me. I eventually couldn’t deny that she indeed has many, many traits of BPD. While the realization provided some relief, it also saddened me incredibly.
It isn’t surprising knowing what she went through growing up with such dysfunctional parents. Her father cheated on her mother and her mother would share way too much information about it with her kids (she actually drove her kids around looking for her father while he was cheating and telling the kids what was going on). Unreal. It’s safe to say her mother isn’t stable either. After witnessing such marital turmoil during childhood, I am sure this created a great sense of distrust in men and thereby she developed these self-preserving defense mechanisms.
I agreed to get back together in hopes she changed. I was wrong. Though she has grown up some she is still very much wounded and I believe always will be until she gets help.
After our first break up, she bought a house with a guy after only 6 months into the relationship. Of course it didn’t work out as you can’t truly know someone after 6 months. He cheated on her and actually was physically abusive with her yet she stayed in the relationship.
Looking back, after our first meeting for the second time around, she came on to me in a very strong sexual way. I didn’t think too much into it but I did agree to see her again. We did sleep together after our first date. Maybe not the best idea but the chemistry was undeniable. We talked a little about what to do going forward and she was actually the one to say “we need to go slow”. To which I agreed that we can’t get too serious too quickly. I was actually surprised she was the one that said this.
As time went on in the first few months, I would get love bombed like crazy. “I want us to last”, “You’ve always had me and always will”, “We are meant to be” “I didn’t know what I had til it was gone” …on and on and on. I could write all kinds of things. The one other thing I will mention is she made a point of calling me about two months in to tell me “I want to marry you and have kids with you. I’ve always wanted to marry you”. If I hadn’t already had a relationship with her, I would have been so flattered that this pretty girl thinks so highly of me. I can look back and see how I fell so in love with her. So I took what she said with a grain of salt and just waited to see if she really meant it. Idealization phase? Probably.
A couple months before it ended is when I think she started to devalue me. I would constantly ask to see her and she would normally have an excuse as to why she couldn’t. Even the times where we agreed to see each other (plans she made too), she would most often cancel those plans without even so much as a “sorry”. Granted we were both busy but it’s no excuse. One thing everyone should know is that if someone cares about you and really wants to spend time with you, they will make time. She wasn’t.
There was a time during this period where I denied her of something and got offended by how mean she reacted. So I get a call the next day with her crying and telling me she doesn’t want to lose me. I accepted her apology and believed her. Other times where she would think I was ignoring her, I was met with rage that you would expect from a 12 year old.
When I felt she was devaluing me, I started to question her. I would ask her if she meant all those things she said to me in the beginning like marriage and kids. I couldn’t get a straight answer. She would deflect, deny, or change the subject, eventually getting mad and projecting back on me. I was like talking to a kid. Any hint of criticism or perceived criticism was met with resistance. Her ego is so fragile and her sense of self is so delicate, she will do anything to protect it. She would rarely if ever take responsibility for what she did and/or said. No accountability.
I remember asking her on a date “who are you?” and “what do you like?”…her answer to both were “I don’t know”. People like her have no idea who they are and have not developed a strong sense of self which is why they often mirror the other person’s personality…at least in the beginning..
I am a confident guy and with her I turned into a pussy. I am also a nice guy that normally puts other before myself but she takes my best qualities and stretches them beyond their limits. That’s because in a lot of ways she requires it. She is so insecure and so emotionally underdeveloped, she requires a lot of empathy but at the same time tough love. It’s very difficult to keep someone like this in your good graces. As anyone would say, it was like walking on eggshells. You don’t know what to expect. It’s exhausting and it’s also why you are so devastated – you lose a lot of who you are sacrificing for this other person.
She is so driven by her emotions. She makes her decisions off those incredibly sensitive emotions that she is feeling at that time. That’s why I know if asked her to marry me after 3 months she would have said yes.
This time around, I slighted her is some way and didn’t even know I did it at the time. She just cut me off and I got the “I just don’t feel the same in my heart” line. I do believe she ended it before she thought I would, just like the first time. Everything was over text too. She is incredibly afraid of confrontation. A lot of shame and guilt.
Thank god I didn’t invest too much or else I would be heartbroken. I will never really figure her out. It’s a no win in so many ways. I truly love this woman and care about her deeply but it will always be a difficult relationship and I will never be at peace during it. Women like her thrive off drama and stimulation. It’s all she knows growing up in a household like she did. She feels comfortable in chaos and dysfunction yet craves love and affection but at the same time pushes it away. It’s maddening. Maybe that is why she stayed in this previous relationship. There was so much drama. Plus she probably afraid to leave until I was back in her life.
In reality, she doesn’t know what love really is because that requires true intimacy and vulnerability. Something I am not sure someone like her is capable of without serious help. I would ask her a question in the most calm, nonjudgmental way possible and she would still feel threatened by it as if I was attacking her or analyzing her by becoming defensive and projecting back on me. THAT is what breaks my heart…that she may never allow herself to be happy.
Unless people like her get help, there is no amount of love that can change her. I tried. Twice. The more I loved her, the further away she went. I even mentioned therapy but it went nowhere. There’s no admitting that she needs help and has a problem, it would crush her.
Hope my story helps those that are facing a similar situation. Sometimes some people just can’t be helped and it’s best for your own mental health to move on.
Nicola, a question for you. Are women like this so blinded by their present emotions that they tend to rewrite history? How do they discount the things they said during the “idealization” phase? Is it just to convince themselves they were right to end it to avoid feeling guilt and shame?
JT, thanks for your story. Your insight will definitely will help those read it. To answer your question, it’s not that these women are blinded by their emotions when they move out of the idealization phase. It might be more accurate to describe it as using selective amnesia for the parts of their history that don’t serve their new narrative. In other words they don’t discount the past history as much as they block it out.
The idealization phase consists of blocking out all of the memories of experiences that made them feel doubt with a partner. In devaluation phase they block out all of the memory of experiences that made them feel hope. The reason they can so easily block out reality is that they are using their emotional processing center to process most of their experiences. When people use their emotional processing center their feelings are stronger than reality. The feelings seem real, and they experience reality as one-dimensional, more like a drawing that they can’t relate to.
Unless a woman with traits of BPD learns how to include her intellectual processing center when processing experiences, she will continue to be able to block out reality. But it is the guilt and shame that keep them from admitting, once they are confronted on it, that their perceptions are wrong and causing them to behave in destructive ways.
Thank you so much for your reply Joanna. Your site is amazing and the best I have read on the subject of relationships with women with BPD traits.
You are definitely right when you say their decisions are based off their emotions that they just can’t seem to get past. My ex has a big heart, and I know she struggles with this. During a moment of clarity she said to me “I am such a basket case, I don’t know how you put up with me” It’s like she just can’t help it. I often wonder if she thinks there is something wrong with me because I “put up” with her.
I do have another question for you…I want to know if you think there is anything I can do now to help her. I know I said it’s best to move on but I really care about this woman and though I know a romantic relationship is out the question, I want to help her (this is the nice guy part of me). If I wrote her a short letter just offering to be there for her if she needed someone, how do you think a woman such as her would take that? Would she take it as me trying to manipulate her back into a relationship? Has she already split me to the point of no return? Is there a time period post break up where she can see things differently? Or is it best just to let her go completely?
I know you don’t know my situation in it’s entirety but an expert opinion would be very welcomed. Thank you again.
JT, the reactions from an individual with traits of BPD to an ex contacting them truly varies from person to person, so it’s very hard to predict what your ex will do. The most important focus after one of these breakups is to your own recovery, which usually consists of gaining closure, just as you are doing, by finding resources that make sense of these behavior patterns.
There really isn’t anything you can do to help her. Her behaviors are addictive in nature. Unfortunately, the tactic that most people choose to help an addict, what we usually call intervention, doesn’t work for individuals with traits of BPD. They lack the trust of even their closest loved ones and will often choose to separate from those trying to help them over facing the truth about their behavior.
So most people with traits of BPD must wait until they reach a true bottom. On a more positive note, education in the BPD behavior patterns is growing, and there are more opportunities for these individuals to come across a helpful article on BPD which may take the aspect of trust for the messenger out of the equation.
Thanks Joanna. My healing is actually going quite well. I guess already going through a break up with this person desensitized me to the aftermath. I don’t know if I will ever truly be able to make sense of her behaviors. My heart tells me she didn’t want this to happen but my head tells me she wouldn’t have done this if she didn’t want to. It’s head spinning! I understand why she pushes me away but it is hard to accept. Is it possible to be friends with her or women like her? Like I said, a romantic relationship is off the table. She actually offered to be friends (to which I didn’t even answer). Do you hear this a lot where these type of women offer to be friends?
JT, yes, some women with traits of BPD do want to remain friends. Can this work? Generally no. If there is closeness, which is usually a goal of friendship, the same triggers will be set off as in a romantic relationship, although to a milder degree. It’s usually a safer relationship with fewer instances of smear campaigns, but friendship generally doesn’t circumvent the negative behaviors.
The one question I can’t find an answer to is why do women with BPD bother to get onto relationships when they know they are going to fail? Why not keep it on a freinds with benefits basis so no one gets hurt or feels conned? My ex has had several “relationships” (about 12 so far) and does admit she knows there is “something wrong” but is in her own words “too afraid to know”. It not only causes her great distress it can destroy the men she has been with as they had no idea what they were letting themselves in for. She is already in a new relationship and may be cheating on him ready for the new split. Even a Doctor said of her, if she put as much work into making her relationships work as she does into finding new men she would be worth working with. So why do they bother?
Fred, that’s a great question. These individuals struggle with the inability to resist urges, particularly emotionally-driven urges. They have a craving to create the ultimate source of attention which they get by getting someone to fall in love with them.
All of the negative behavior patterns we see within romantic relationships are addictive in nature. And all of the neurological phenomena that occur with chemical addiction are also present with behaviors associated with BPD including denial, emotional volatility, and blame-shifting. The subconscious mind will do whatever it takes to justify reasons to fulfill addictive cravings.
The condition could be said to be three-fold: An addiction to romantic love along with a phobia of romantic betrayal and the inability to tolerate any kind of shame, guilt or embarrassment. This triad of traits locks them very tightly into their negative behavior patterns.
Hey Joanna. In a response I received via email, you stated that my ex may have kicked me to the curb due to anger (it’s more than that I’m sure) but then might feel very warm towards me when I am gone. My question is, what keeps them from reaching out when they realize they are warm towards their partner? Is it just not being able to give up that control along with a fear of rejection? I almost feel like she would rather be unhappy then risk the rejection. She even said she has always been happy with me but can’t explain why.
Would that embarrassment be too great? Even before we got back together and were just talking she would hint at wanting to see me but never actually say it even though she is the one that left. I understand a lot of women are like this but when I asked why didn’t she just ask to see me, she said “I was too afraid to get rejected”.
JT, in general they tend to be ruled by their emotions. One might say that they are too afraid to establish emotional connections and that’s their baseline, but when they get a surge of emotions it can override the fear. One of the things that allows them to so easily jump from relationship to relationship is the lack of negative experience attached to the new person. It is the flashbacks of the negative experiences that can get in the way of them rebounding with their ex even when their emotions are overriding their fear.
Thank you for the quick reply. I guess when we got back together the emotions she was experiencing thwarted any flashbacks she might have had.
Something else makes me wonder. Those proclamations of love. I know they are real and she meant them but I wonder if someone like her or women with traits of BPD feel betrayed when those proclamations are not returned or at least not as equal. Since I didn’t go as fast as her and return all these proclamations of love just 1-2 months in, would a woman like her feel as though I was stringing her along? Would she just interpret my hesitancy to return these overwhelming statements as me not feeling the same because I am not going at the same pace? We even agreed to “go slow”. In fact it was her who said it.
Our first relationship ended in large part due to her believing I didn’t want to marry her because there was a time where she thought I was going to propose but didn’t (didn’t know at the time). So she got it in her mind that I never would because I didn’t do so within her timeline. It’s like its more about what I don’t do or don’t do “right” then what I do wrong.
JT, two things can happen. One is that they will lose interest in the relationship which will often happen with men who have solid boundaries and refuse to leap into love with them. Another important aspect is the fact that women with traits of BPD feel extreme humiliation due to rejection, exponentially more than the average person. So any inequity in the intensity of feelings can cause them to feel betrayed.
I know she meant the things she said to me but do women like this also say things that they think their partner wants to hear? Things such as “We need to go slow”…was completely contradictory to what she actually did. Is it possible that someone with these traits meant things like going slow but just can’t help herself and fall in love in just months?
Also, she suffers from anxiety/depression (on medication), pretty bad OCD, and also agoraphobia. She is a self described “loaner” who up until about a year ago didn’t really have friends (she has one now). Is this sort of thing common in these types of women where they suffer from these types of disorders and isolation as well?
JT, in idealization stage things will occur to them to say that seem to fit how they are feeling. but there will be very little intellectualizing involved. They have extraordinary abilities to figure out what to say to speed things along, even if it means saying they want things to go slowly. This statement would have been a subconscious tactic to get you to trust her.
If they are far enough out on the spectrum of BPD to warrant a diagnosis, they may find themselves isolated, but it is not because they are loners. It is because they act out with friends in the same way they do with lovers and sabotage those relationships. Those who are not as far out on the spectrum usually are not loner types. They tend to experience constant longing for connection.
It’s almost as if they are so trained in manipulation, it’s become second nature due to their subconscious.
I mentioned earlier a quote about her calling herself a “basket case”. The story goes…during Christmas dinner at my family’s house she slipped and fell on her way to the bathroom on some water that my dog has spit up after drinking it out of the toilet. She didn’t get hurt, just fell on her butt – something most everyone would just shake off and I don’t even think anyone saw it. She went into panic. She starting getting hysterical and crying pulling me into the bathroom with her. Basically she was having a panic attack. I tried my best to calm her down and even offered to get her a change of cloths. My mother tried to calm her down. Nothing worked. She just demanded to go home, crying the entire time. The embarrassment was just too much. So I took her home and whole ride home, she blamed me for it all since it was my dog. Obviously this wasn’t my fault, just an innocent accident, but in order to avoid shame and embarrassment, she had to deflect blame onto me. I didn’t argue with her as I knew that would make things worse. I let her vent and cry. This lasted the entire ride home and for about 10 minutes after until she finally calmed her self down and exhausted herself. As she was calming down she uttered “I am such a basket case, I don’t know how you put up with me” to which I replied “Because you’re worth it”. It is a quote that I think really sums her up and our relationship. Part of me thinks she was just saying that to me to make me feel sorry for her and to keep me from leaving but the other part thinks she really meant it. Maybe it is a mixture of both. She knows something is not quite about her and that she shouldn’t behave that way. She went on to tell me how wonderful I was about all of it the next day.
There were other similar but smaller type incidents but that one I will always remember., Do you think someone like her with these traits would think there is something wrong with me since I put up with her crazy behavior? Not only put up with it but accepted it and wanted to be with her in spite of it. It’s like she didn’t understand why I would want to be with someone that acts like that. Would someone like her look at it as if I might have some hidden agenda (like just wanting sex for example which I was accused of before) because I stayed with her even though she knows she has some serious issues. Basically her insecurity telling her she doesn’t think she is worthy not understanding why I would want someone like her.
JT, they do have occasional moments of clarity and can express this kind of awareness, although most of the time their belief that their partner couldn’t love them is more hidden or playing in the background of their consciousness. Most of their acting out is done to drown out precisely these feelings of worthlessness. So yes, most women with traits of BPD do have an underlying belief or fear that they are unloveable.
So because these women with traits of BPD have these feelings of worthlessness and being unloveable, would they often think there is something wrong with their partner or that he is using them because he chooses to stay in spite of this behavior?
JT, you’re exactly right. If you take a look at the forums for recovering individuals with BPD you will find they frequently state their belief that there is something wrong with their partners for loving them and suspicions that they may be using them or that they are about to betray or abandon them.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Joanna. You have been an incredible help.
Hello, very interesting, I found some new explanations, but I don’t agree at all with this ending sentence : “behavior patterns of a woman with traits BPD in the beginning stages of romance are indistinguishable from any other person in love” : I think we can find many differences there too, like exaggeration of the seductive behavior already followed micro-rejection! In other words the push-pull (*) pattern is already visible. Among the pulls we often find excessive mirroring, suddenly all your passions become hers and she invest for the full gears at once.
(*) She pulls you close or push you away! By the way I read so many confusing explanations (in other places) about that too where the words are purposely mixed from confusion or to attract Google attention, like she pushed herself against him or pulled the rug under his feet etc. Generally inversing the main gender tendency too!
“confusing explanations (in other places) ” .. I meant in other blogs .
These articles are not helpful for people who are trying to recover. BPD is not a life sentence, and how much therapy someone needs is case dependent. The partner is not innocent – they also have traits and triggers that are wrong- just that sometimes people react very strongly to them.
Running for the hills is the type of message that discourages anyone from improvement. Well guess what – people can improve whether people blame or shun them or not. The people who get stuck on “woe is me, my partner the crazy BPD” are truly the ones who will never change and take accountability for their own actions.
There’s a reason people run for the hills after having spent any relatively significant amount of time around BPD people – they’re extraordinarily damaging people. Their sociopathic behavior leaves a trail of destruction in its wake. I was with a BPD women for almost 18 months and I can say it was the best (fleeting) and the worst relationship of my life. The hardest part is accepting that the good times were likely predicated on her narcissistic tendency for prevarication and the bad times were a result of her need to back peddle and distance herself from the very arrangement she insisted on – unconditional love and acceptance. This sadistic, pathological liar had a very intelligent, handsome and caring man practically eating from the palm of her hand and simply pissed all over it. I would have given her the rest of my life without regard to her deteriorating physical appearance or any other superficial quality. I opened myself up to her like I never did before – not even with my ex-wife of 10 years. So no Sarah, the real issue is with mentally ill sociopaths whose primary preoccupation is satisfying THEIR needs exclusively, to hell with who they hurt in the process. I suspect that describes you quite well. Taking accountability means putting aside your own selfish motives and sparing the feelings of those who make the mistake of hitching their wagons to these extremely damaged human beings. It means RECOGNIZING your illness and doing what you can to mitigate the damage to those who love you.
I thought this was a very negative article about the borderliners in question. Where there should be hope, the article ends with “don’t fall for this con again”. I am in a relationship for 6 years now, it’s been really hard work, but I believe people can make it work. Of course, if you see what problems you have, and if your partner truly understands how you work and when to leave it alone. It ends in a way that leaves borderliners believing they truly are cons, and that no one will ever keep a relationship. My mom has borderline too, and she manages to keep her relationship standing. I was hoping for an article that gave me hope continuing my own relationship. This just takes all hope away… I believe if you have a borderliner, like me, on therapy and trying to work on herself, together with a partner who tries to understand and knows the triggers and tries to understand borderline, I believe it can work, at least, that is what I hope, because after reading this I’m wondering if it will ever be better. This article seems to justify what all borderliners think: that no one will ever understand them and will always go away eventually.
Women with BPD attract narcissistic men. Whether they’re nice or not, the reason they stay is because they want the admiration the BPD provides them with when they’re in a good mood.
Joanna Nicola does an generally brilliant job at explaining the intricacies of BPD. And as there are some great accounts of experiences above I will keep mine brief. In my experience as a good guy (not ‘nice’ guy – as I have NO problem calling out maddening behaviour lol) BPD woman are simply increasing ‘NO- WIN’ propositions. And how much you decide to take from them is factored by your degree of natural co- dependency.
I observe, like all pathologicals, *they are primarily guided by EXTREME self-interest* but this is dressed -up in their own particular way. i.e. If you’re relatively normal enough : ) imagine your stronger emotions always dialled- up x 5!! So nevermind the core rudiments Joanna lays out so well, anything that happens in the devaluation stages is also massively heightened. e.g. You might wake up one morning and feel pissed- off. Well, her version of that is to feel she can’t handle life and she hates you! Or in my case of leaving my casual BPD situation last week, she [an initially innocent waif borderline type] was making enthusiastic plans to see me one week – but a combination of her mother suddenly taking badly ill – on top of working hard and being stressed, tbf – meant that the commitment of having to see me became the LAST thing she wanted to do! The fact, her emotional self -absorption meant she blocked out my two weeks of ‘wonderful’ (her words ; ) effort to help her over her own illness the month before was just BPD life!
My personal situation also hasn’t been easy for her as i live with my ex -partner (pending full separation) so the triggers were plentiful on that issue alone! Ultimately, though, my decade of understanding the personality disorder means i’m definitely happy to move on. It was the fifth devaluation, and even with the relationship being an arms length one, this latest one was enough for me and I set her very straight on that fact! It’s just not fun being at the ebb and flow of another’s emotional discord – esp. when you know it’s only going to get worse, more irrational and the warmth of the idealization phase is pretty much gone, lol.
Beej, thanks for your kind words and accurate summation of the BPD relationship.
Joanna – No problem. You are doing a fantastic job and your stand out blog has been of immense help to me since 2014. x
What i will quickly add, is that *initially more amazing than normal* sex you get (from all PD types who really have no true sense of self) will have a shelf life in most cases. It will eventually become: A tool to barter with / something to berate you over (when her drive is no longer driven crazy by idealisation) and even something to dislike you for (as they can often suddenly experience shame / guilt for SO many different reasons it can be dizzying!)
In my case, knowing enough about the disorder – and crucially, our arms -length situation – meant that i was able to sit back and observe throughout.That still didn’t stop at least three periods of decent personal upset/ annoyance (as you are still putting in effort and loyalty when the inevitable curveballs come). TBH, had i been living by myself we probably would have broken up after about a month or two (instead of an on / off 18 months) as her : 1) Intense initial needs and 2) Ability to be able to call / see me easily early days would have been tempered by my wanting to take things steadily. That would have severely triggered her sense fear of abandonment / fears I was going to hurt her. It’s going to be interesting to see if i have an update to this in future (as I have no reason this time to be in contact personally). And my setting her straight should allow her to dislike me (again, lol) for as long as she chooses.
In the meantime, i’ll go with my natural need for emotional rest after any break- up and enjoy any healthier interactions that may surface. Good luck all ! : )
Men are also designed to be providers. Men give women a ring when they marry. A man must have a job. Men have been taught to respect women in general. Men protect women and are more susceptible to falling into the BPD trap. A woman hitting a man rarely causes a domestic violence report. Women are not taught to treat men with respect. I thought my wife would change because at 30 years old I was her first boyfriend. This was my main concern when marrying her. 25 years later l filed for divorce due to her abuse and refusal to get help for her BPD. Her thoughts are so unusual I feel I have more understanding than most therapists on the disorder. There are reasons why I stayed which I will not mention to keep this private. I would recommend psychological testing before marriage along with the typical police background check ! The article above is very truthful.
Joe, thanks for your very relevant contribution to this discussion.