Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Are You a Victim of a Person With Borderline Personality Disorder?

As you search for answers for your heartache and pain, you will find support and understanding at BPDfamily.com.

Learning that someone we care about suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder and that they are mentally ill is, in some ways, a relief. We finally have a medical condition that explains so much of the pain and confusion we have experienced in our relationship. It isn't all our fault after all. He/she is the one with the problem - not me. I am the innocent victim in the relationship.

It's compelling to think that we are a victim. It absolves us of responsibility. However, while it may feel good to think this way, it isn’t the healthy response on our part.

The downside of casting ourselves as a victim is that this thinking tends to keep us repeating the same dysfunctional patterns. It reinforces the thought that we can’t do anything about the abuse because we are helpless. It masks the bad choices we made. It often hinders us from reaching for the tools to grow and to heal ourselves.

Learning that it is "not all my fault" doesn't mean that we are faultless.

Many of us wish that the pwBPD in our lives would get therapy and become “cured” and all the relationship problems would vanish. Sadly, this dream misses a major component of the problem – us.

We too, are damaged. How, you may ask? It takes two people for an argument. It takes two people for emotional blackmail to work. It takes two people if someone is being abused. It takes two for most of lifes events. We choose to stand there and listen as they screamed and yelled at us. We choose to not walk away when things became uncomfortable. We choose to plead with them during the long stretches of silent treatment. We choose to continue living there. We choose to stay in contact.

These are choices that we made. Sure, they were out of love, but love for whom? Why didn’t we protect ourselves? Why didn’t we take care of ourselves? How can we expect to take care of others if we couldn't take care of ourselves?

Even if our loved one improves, without changes in us, the same problems are likely to repeat.

The real hope lies with us - in taking a step back from the dysfunction and untangling the enmeshment and becoming the emotional leader in the relationship or in the breakup.

Targeted Reader: Anyone in a romantic relationship with BPD, or a  person exhibiting BPD personality traits or a BPD personality style.  This article is not aimed at parents or children.

Authors: United for Now, Skip 



BPDFamily.com provides support, education, tools, and perspective to individuals with a loved one affected by Borderline Personality Disorder. BPFamily is a non-profit, co-op of over 55,000 volunteer members and alumni formed in 1998. We welcome you to join our free 24 hour on-line support community and grow with us as we learn to live better lives in the shadow of this disorder. For more information or to register, please click here. www.bpdfamily.com

9 comments :

It's so easy to see yourself as a victim, and not do anything. Blaming someone else may make sense, but it doesn't solve any of your problems or make things any better.

I don't want to be a victim anymore.
I'm going to do something for myself...

This article is a bit black and white also. To suggest that someone who has stayed with a partner with BPD is at fault also, just sounds to me like it would come out of the BPD person's mouth. THAT IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE.
While it may be the majority, every situation is different, and for some, the choice to stay is the only one they have. Also, for very responsible people who are always looking at their involvement, or fault, in a conflict, get very abused by a BPD. While everyone the responsibility to their own happiness, to put the blame on them for the being abused just sounds like blaming the victim to me.

The text in this article should state that this is not for parents or children, as I am the child of a parent with BPD. Children do not have a choice. A footnote is not sufficent.

While I understand the point in the story I will share that in my case of having been involved with my BPD girlfriend, it was more painful for me to realize and admit that in fact I WAS a victim. Being a victim is the worst feeling in the world. Yes of course I could have walked away but it's such an absolute mindfvck of the highest order it took a very long time to understand what was happening..

I would like to see more information for those that have left a spouse with borderline personality disorder. For years I have been a victim of his distortion campaigns. It's very difficult to defend myself against all of his lies. I know I shouldn't even try, but I still get caught up in it. I just want him to leave me alone. We have two children together, so we do have some contact, though he disappears and then comes back into the picture like he's dad of the year for whoever the new person is he's trying to impress. Anyway...I have no idea how to get my life back and stop trying to trip him up in his lies. Thoughts or recommendations?

I have just gotten out of a painful 3-year friendship with a person my counselor diagnosed with BPD. I had gone to him to help me get out of this friendship. I'll spare the details but she fits the description to the tee except never apologized for angry outbursts towards me while alone or in front of others and I lived with her severe judgement of others. Why I "stuffed" the behavior & my gut for so long I don't know.

She and I share some of the same friends although they know her more superficially. We are in a class together that is really important to me (and to her). What do I do if she verbally attacks me during the class? She's done it at a party to a couple of the others at a party....not sure they heard her and I am almost sure she'll do it to me in class. (She always says it's a joke/is never laughing & I know she can't help it)

I literally start to shake at the thought of being in the same room again with her yet I don't want to give up my class or my friends. How do I handle the outbursts if they happen?

Please help.

Ok, so basically you are telling my wife to leave me. Thanks. Yes, I have been told I have borderline personality disorder, and yes it greatly effects my relationship with anyone I let close to me. But to say that they should decide to stay or go is horrible. It's not that simple to just stay or go. If my wife left me I would still be the same person only with one less major positive influence in my life, even if I don't acknowledge that she is a postive influence. Rewrite this article maybe a little longer and try to tell people not to just give up easily. Explain that it is in fact a life time struggle. It is something that will never go away. Nobody wants that in their life not even the person with bpd. Being with someone with this illness is a life long commitment. You can see it as a sentence like with jail, or as a commitment something you will never give up on. Kinda like being married or having kids. The only way I can escape this illness is by dying and although I may want that sometimes I am still here and not giving up. Giving up is the easiest thing to do. Nothing worth having comes easy like life or family for that matter. Don't give up on someone if you truly love them. It's not going to be easy, ever.

May 17 anon, if you are not seeking treatment you should have never married or God forbid, brought children into the world. Chances are if they don't inherit it, they will suffer during your rages-at them or your wife.
You should be alone because what no one has the guts to tell you is that you aren't "mentally ill"-you simply have a character disorder and you will destroy the soul of every person who has to deal with you. It's like a snake eating a lizard-its just their nature. And yes, good relationships ARE easy, its people with character disturbances which make them hell.

I am a divorced male. I had been married to someone with borderline personality for over 20 years. Back then I had no idea what I was getting into (I was very young) but over time I realized that I was living a hell that you can never really escape and is indescribable, especially when you have kids together. The day she was diagnosed with BPD while she was held in a psychiatric facility after her second suicide attempt in front of our kids, confirmed much of what I had been experiencing all of my life with this person.

I thought I loved this woman, but I hated the outbursts, distortions, the abuse both physical and emotional against our children as well as myself, and then there’s the crippling clinginess they inflict on you when they feel they can’t be without you. Because one of the greatest triggers for BPD people is their fear of being abandoned, they develop very manipulative skills to convince and persuade anyone that will listen to them, they will convince people to think that you are the bad guy when in reality you are such a victim. They are usually very seductive in their presentation of what they want you to believe.

While treatment is somewhat possible for success, don't bet on it! There are very few that seek help, if they commit to treatment, they can function productively, not all BPD's are like this. BPD's are notorious for never admitting that they have a problem at all! They not only lie to themselves but to everyone else as well. It is the cancer of all mental disorders. Run if you can and don't look back. If you choose to stay or have to stay, do all that you can to get them to treatment as well as yourself to cope.

Don’t fool yourself I learned the hard way, I thought with time I could help her. But I realized decades later, I lost everything, except my kids (thank God) If you are divorced from someone with BPD always be ready for court, often, they will drag you back there and be ready for plenty of drama too. People will try to rationalize and make sense of it, they will make excuses for them and worst of all lose themselves in trying as I did for so long. If you are going through it with someone you love and choose to stay, for as ever long as that will be, I wish you good luck! You will need it!

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