BPD and Romantic Relationships: If You Really Loved Me
Romantic relationships are difficult enough without mental illness entering the equation. But when one or both of the people involved has borderline personality disorder (BPD), relationships can become sheer hell. I live with BPD and was once in a romantic relationship with a man who had BPD and bipolar disorder; it was probably the biggest mistake I ever made. That said, I learned a lot from it.
With Borderline Personality Disorder - Be Prepared for Manipulation
Not only can people with BPD be manipulative, but they can be easily manipulated. My ex controlled my life, and I let it happen because I thought I was in love with him. He had a facial expression that caused me to give in every time. He also convinced me I was trying to manipulate him. He was a master con artist who referred to me as "the fiancee from hell"--and I believed it. I put up with a lot from him because he had me convinced I was the problem.
People with BPD may not always realize they're being manipulative. It may not even be their intention. I sincerely believe my ex was trying to meet his needs the only way he knew how. It is important to establish some rules if you're entering a relationship with someone with borderline personality disorder. Set healthy limits. Most people with BPD will initially be angry, but will eventually respect that.
For example, tell a person who self-injures that you will automatically take them to the hospital if they self-harm. Tell an alcoholic that you will not give them money for their addiction. Refuse to be taken advantage of. State clearly how you feel about a request. Be gentle, but firm. Let them know that while they are not responsible for their diagnosis and that they are not bad people, they are responsible for how they manage their symptoms.
When I broke off the relationship, he called me to blame me for his suicide attempt. I refused to talk to him and told him that unless he went back on his meds and back into therapy, it was over. He didn't respect that, so I got a restraining order against him. That got the message through to him.
You may need to take extreme action in a relationship with a person with borderline personality disorder. Know your limits, make them clear, then stick to them!
Remember, You're Dealing with a Sick Person
People with BPD often stopped developing emotionally in childhood. This carries over into adulthood as unhealthy coping skills such as substance abuse and self-injury. You are dealing with a sick person and should adjust your attitude accordingly. Be patient, but don't be a doormat.
My ex was fond of pointing out my symptoms while denying his. He eventually went off his medication, saying, "Medication don't do nothing Jesus can't." He denied he was sick and told me I was the one who was sick. He was fond of telling me, "If you don't calm down I'll have you I.D.ed!" (An I.D. is a 24-hour psychiatric hold.) Healthy relationships do not have this element of fear. Healthy relationships face conflict and work to overcome it. Thus, a relationship with a non-mentally ill person can be unhealthy, and a relationship with someone with a mental illness can be healthy. It all comes down to how you handle conflict.
Learn What You Can About Borderline Personality Disorder
If you're going to enter into a relationship with someone with BPD, learn what you can about the illness. HealthyPlace.com is an excellent resource with pages ranging from the symptoms of BPD to types of treatment to information about medication. Knowledge is power, and the more that you know, the more you'll be able to prepare for the highs and lows of the relationship.
Oberg, B. (2014, June 10). BPD and Romantic Relationships: If You Really Loved Me, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2014/06/if-you-really-loved-me-bpd-and-romantic-relationships
Author: Becky Oberg
Let's address THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
ABUSE IS ABUSE !! PERIOD !!
It doesn't matter if the ABUSER has Borderline personality disorder, Narcissistic personality disorder, Antisocial personality disorder, Histrionic Personality disorder or any disorder at all.
If you are being ABUSED GET OUT !! RUN AS FAR AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN !!
Then GET YOURSELF SOME SERIOUS HELP !! You need to find out what attracts you to unhealthy people to begin with.
If you are in an ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP, GET OUT !! What are you wanting for ? Are you some kind of masochist? Are you waiting for your "LOVE" to find a new victim and dump you? Are you wanting to get pushed to your limit and SNAP? GET OUT !! Before someone gets seriously hurt besides you. GET OUT !! Before you lash out at your ABUSER or one of the people who they cheated with or yourself. Ultimately YOU LOSE.
GET OUT, RUN AS FAR AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN, GET YOURSELF SOME SERIOUS HELP and believe that you can have a normal, healthy, happy relationship with someone who truly loves and respects you.
Personality Disorders are developed over a lifetime of trial and error.
ABUSE DOESN'T HAVE TO BE TOLERATED!!
Maybe once those with Personality Disorder understand this they'll be motivated to change.
Its like a broken stereo, its either full blast or mute. Tbh it also sounds as if the bf has more issues than BPD.
I found this part very interesting. And I feel its quite reasonable to define it as the author and TireofBPDabuse both have. (I am the former (briefly) partner of a male undiagnosed BPD. In my humble opinion I also believe he has anosognosia. Disclosure; I am not a mental heath professional just someone who has sought to understand the behaviour I have experienced).
From the word go I felt his views on things and behaviour were like those you’d expect from a 15 year old. He cant respond normally to me talking to any male and has done things such as send me a close up picture of his eye with a tear at it. This is an intelligent successful professional respected in his workplace etc. At first I laughed off some of his behaviour as it seemed so ridiculous but I now realise its no laughing matter.
I mentioned anosognosia; also very interesting to read about that. What Ive read is that ‘someone with acute mental illness may not be thinking clearly enough to consciously choose denial. They may instead be experiencing “lack of insight” or “lack of awareness.” ...When we talk about anosognosia in mental illness, we mean that someone is unaware of their own mental health condition or that they can’t perceive their condition accurately’
Spot on. He appears to have very very little awareness at all and has told me its all me. He has a chain of failed relationships and I am aware of at least two of his former partners having experienced this behaviour.
Ive truly tried to understand and support him before I understood the extent but cant go on.
I salute those of you who are aware of the condition and are working to improve your lives through therapies like DBT. I wish you nothing but the best.
Let me start off, I HAVE BPD and Bipolar 1, actually diagnosed, not assumed. And I will be the first one to say that this was a good article to read. Why? Because it opens up a new perception, a view from someone else's eyes, if you will. Not once did she say she was a professional or an expert on any level. She has made it perfectly clear that this is her OWN experiences. Did she need to write "Results may vary" or "Not typical experience" ??? If you say yes, well, then you're the reason we have to put "caution hot" on coffee cups or "do not ingest" on shampoo bottles. Smh. How pathetic are you? You're sitting here attacking the author because you did not agree with her OWN PERSONAL LIFE EXPERIENCES. Obviously your experiences, mine, and the authors are all going to be different. Perception. Even if we all went through the same thing, it would be different to each of us due to our own perception. Who's to say who's is right or wrong? Stop trying to white knight the internet, you're not "protecting" any one. Getting offended over someone sharing their life experience is pretty damn ridiculous. Stop white knighting the internet, and keep an open mind. You might just learn something.
As far as people getting upset that this article states that BPD people CAN be manipulative, and that they don't often realize they are being manipulative, is a way to try to inform someone who doesn't know about this issue to some of the potential things to look out for. The fact that the author added that they often don't know they are being manipulative helps me let go of anger an resentment when I think about the ways I've certainly been manipulated.
mental health professional, but a woman with BPD yourself. I found this surprising. That you have felt the pain of the unwarranted stigma associated with this illness, yet you have done nothing but add to it with this article. You took an opportunity to accurately educate and inform and you blew it. You should have began the article with a disclaimer stating this was your opinion and your opinion alone and that you have BPD yourself!! It is not accurate an representation and is over generalized, and extremely negative.
This was nothing but irresponsible.
The behavior is weird and creates a ton of apprehension. Can't trust her steals my debit and credit cards cheats lies etc etc. The Sex is deviant and kinky. Not a chance of any success cause she sabotages, manipulates etc. She doesn't 100% mean it and I feel for her she sabotages herself too and self harms. I wouldn't recommend seeing someone with this disorder. Very damaging.
I am 23. I am a female. I have BPD. All of my relationships have been unstable. I have a hard time controlling my emotions day to day. But that doesn't mean I am incapable of loving. In fact, I feel I have been more capable at loving than some other people I know who are not suffering this disorder.
just because you had a horrible, personal experience doesn't mean that that is how ALL of us are. All of your suggestions are horrible. Why would you threaten someone who is suffering self harm or alcoholism? How do you think that will establish trust in the relationship, let alone trust for them to come to you when they are feeling unstable? Would you threaten someone with cancer that if they show any symptoms, you will take them to the chemo center and subject them to shaming them for asking help with their symptoms? People with BPD don't understand the concept of manipulation. Being manipulative is coercing someone to do something for you without them knowing you know you are doing so. In my personal experience, I have never been manipulative on purpose because of my BPD. I have simply not had the coping mechanisms to deal with intense feelings. From what you have written, it sounds like your ex was partially suffering from BPD as well was an abusive partner. You have to learn to differentiate the two; just because your partner was abusive on top of being Borderline, doesn't mean the rest of us are; and because of articles like this, it is even harder for people suffering to find help. So thanks, I hope one day you receive counselling as well.
I felt completely justified in all my behaviours in past relatioships. I was reacting to pain. being volatile, untrustworthy and manipulative.
I had no idea why my relationships kept failing and why nobody was kind or compassionate??
You know why? My guess is its hard to love someone who a. Doesn't love themselves. b. is like a ticking time bomb?
It wasn't until a recent ex broke up with me, very plainly and simply explained he had fallen out of love with me and he had to look after himself as he felt my constant cries for attention were going to make him sick. I have no compassion for BPD. Its an ugly disorder. The more i separate myself from the symptoms/behaviours the better I feel.
if you have BPD, Im so very sorry! big hugs.
I'm lonely, hurting and sad.
If loved ones didn't tell me, i couldn't fix it.
yes, this article triggered a few yucky feelings. but I'm also sad for her. she loved him too at one stage and his Illness hurt both of them. to me, that's so sad:( I dislike BPD stigma... but sometimes I need a reality check in order to seek help or initiate a little more awareness of my behaviour.