I have been married to my wife who has BPD for almost 16 years, and she still freaks out at me for stupid things. We have 4 kids and she will talk down to me constantly. Last night I was looking for the car keys to go out, she was the last to have them. So, I asked her to help me find them, well, she came downstairs and freaked out at me in front of the kids and said i was acting like a child, man I was choked. i am really getting sick of this She gets mad at me for everything. She even cheated on me 4 years ago with my best friend, but, I took her back because we have 4 kids. I have tried to forgive her, because I am a christian man, and do not want to get a divorce, but, it has been hard. Sometimes she feels bad about it, other times, she gets mad for me not "Getting over it". She then went to therapy for 3 months at a residential treatment for christian women. For the first few weeks back she was fine, and then it was all down hill after that. She says God is showing her stuff, i am not sure what he is showing her other than to be mean to me. Anyway, I feel your pain brother. Feel like I am stuck either way i go. i know if I leave she will make it miserable for me to see kids and if she leaves, same thing. Anyway, life's a rollercoaster, and i want off.
If this is about her affair then perhaps you could try therapy to help resolve your issues about how you feel. I expect there are losses there that you need to resolve.
Also, bpd is an illness. Try not to judge your wife. Also, don't hold her to ransom over something that she can not change. Maybe she is projecting her guilt and it is also her who is having trouble getting past it. ??
Your wife should probably still be in therapy. Would she be receptive to accessing support? It is something that she probably needs to persevere with.
You could always discuss couples therapy as an alternative.
At yahoo health groups I think they have some support groups for Christian people. You could also try there for support.
I think priorities would be to talk to your wife and also to help her access treatment.
Okay, I'm going to be the devil's adversary here...I have bipolar but I know right from wrong.
You need to think of your own mental health. Like someone told me, God didn't make us to be a door mat. Best of luck to you.
That's true. People shouldn't tolerate being miserable themselves.
I think people need to do what they feel is best for them. That could be either staying or going or any number of other possibilities.
I appreciate the incite, however, hse does go back and forth as to when you actually acknowledges that she has borderline. I would be more than happy to get counselling when she does know this fact, but when she does not, it is useless. I do love my wife and want to be with here, which is why I put up with what I do. I realize sometimes she does struggle with guilt, and other times, just down right mean. It is my kids also that I worry about, whether staying with her has hurt them more than leaving would have. It is also the trust thing that is gone, I used to feel bad for her, as she also has stuff in her childhood(as do many bpd's). but, after the affair, I just became bitter, and do not want to be hurt again. Stuck between a rock and a hard place as the saying goes
you are very true, and probably I do make myself one. I guess part of me still loves her the other part has been with her almost 17 years and is afraid to leave. I know i am a bit of a wreck myself after so many years of this. Really not sure what to do anymore.
I have been trying to get therapy for both of us, but, if she does not go, I will have to by myself. I am tired of living in fear of her cheating on me. I am also tired of feeling guilty for her past. She always projects that on me when I try to talk about "us". Anyway, definately need to do something, or live in termoil the rest of my life
Oh, therapist(makes sense). Yes, that is the word(dissociating) that I was looking for. And that is exactly when she does it, when she is stressed, I think she learned to do that as a kid, to protect herself. I never used to be unsympathetic, until she cheated on me, then just became bitter. I used to book all her appts(made my life around helping her), turned into co-dependancy.
I definately know I need therapy, I already see myself taking on her traits from living with this so long. Yesterday, I suggested psychotherapy, but she was not very receptive to the idea, as she said GOD needs to help her. I would normally say, I am not purposely living in turmoil, but, I guess ultimately it is my choice, so, staying is more out of my fears, than hers. Been good to have someone to talk to though, do not have anyone that understands any of this.
I don't understand the "God" stance. Surely God has put people here to help her. He has given those people skills. Maybe God is helping her by directing her towards therapy? Or whatever support she is leaning towards. Or maybe that is the role God has given you, to help to support her and to help her access support? You need to interpret things as you see fit. Things have different meanings for different people.
I can understand you feeling hurt and bitter and resentful and cheated or betrayed.
Maybe you both need separate therapy to help address your own issues. ??
You also stay out of love and concern and commitment. I understand a little about bpd but I don't understand how bpd individuals can treat their spouses or partners so appallingly.
It's a lot to have to carry around with you. It sounds like you could benefit from therapy or a good support group.
I honestly don't know how to advise about ways to reconcile with a bpd individual who is largely in denial. This, I think, is where professional input could be invaluable.
BPD is serious business. Don't assume that she feels "guilty" about her affair. BPD's usually don't. They do, however, have an extreme fear of abandonment, so she will belittle you to the ends of the earth because that is what keeps you there. Think for a moment about what you are saying..."I've been with her 17 years" and all the other excuses. You should stop for a moment and think about your children. They should NOT have to grow up in this environment. It would be far better to split and let them know that mommy is "sick" which is why she is angry all the time. My sister has BPD. It wasn't until she finally "assaulted" her husband and he had to go to the emergency room - then she was arrested - that he was able to get away from her. She told him for years that HE was the one who needed therapy. Now she lives with my mom and takes her anger out on her. BPD is difficult to treat because the BPD really doesn't think there's much wrong with them - that it is everyone else. I've never seen someone so bitter, angry, can snap your head off in a heartbeat and not think twice about it. Usually with BPD there are additional disorders including Narcisistic PD, Histrionic PD, etc. I can assure you this will NEVER stop as long as you're still with her. Leaving - and with the kids - may be the one wake up call she needs. Document all her behaviors, so that you have some backup info for the child custody issues. Pray and ask God for strength to keep you from running right back to her and get those kids and yourself the heck out of there!
I have always thought GOD had wanted me to help her, but, she seems to always go back to the same state of mind whether it is after 6 months 2 months, etc. Seperate therapy sounds like a good idea, as I have think in a sense"lost myself". Not sure anymore, I have spent so many years trying to help "HER" that I have not focused on myself. I ended up starting smoking again when she cheated on me(have since quit), and ended up with health issues(heart problems). She did not even come to see me in the hospital. Sometimes, she is so convincing, and I forget that this is not normal behaviour.
So, with your BPD, you have not treated people this way?
Wow, you sound like my wife's sister, who told me to leave her when she cheated on me. I kicked her out when she cheated on me, then tool her back 6 weeks later. Funny, it is almost like she would have to do something again for that to happen. That is how I know I need help. i am afraid to leave. this past 4 years since she cheated on me really screwed my brain, and I lost my out going mellow personality, along with the relations with my kids, that I am getting back now. I just wanted this all to work out. She always seems so sincere when she apologizes, and i get sucked back in. I am now co-dependant on her, and she knows that. That is now one of my main issues, and now she has even more control over me, whether i like itor not.Help!
I have been rude and disrespectful to my parents and perhaps my doctor and others but generally speaking no.
If I were married I expect I would be extremely loyal.
I think for her change will take time and I think for that to happen I think it would be best done with a trained T.
I think you need to problem solve the situation from where you are. I think talking to a T and working through your own issues is a brilliant idea. You at least have some control over that. I'm not sure about your marriage. Only you can tell if it is worth persevering with.
Heart problems could have been affected by the increased stress. The heart problems are not your wife's fault though. That must have felt hugely rejecting not to have had your wife visit you in hospital. I expect it was also a very scary time for you.
Maybe your answer lies in that? Her lack of affection and concern. Was she able to justify it? I don't expect I would like a partner who I couldn't trust and depend on.
i have borderline and depenent personality disorders plus bipolar and i kmow what you're goiung through. i was the one who cheated granted, but i am trying to get past my guilt. God may not have made us doormats, but we also have brains. it sounds abusive and by all means, save this marriage!go to family Christian counselling...hopefully she will agree?
I have BPD and I cheated a few years ago. Granted, I stayed when I learned he cheated on me for the same reasons you state and my commitment to God. We went to a Christian counselor, but it took that PLUS meds and psychotherapy for me to start to change. It is a slow process for those of us with BPD. It's not impossible, but if she's not acknowledging she has a problem, then she's likely to cheat again and continue to abuse you verbally. With that said, you have to play a part in this if you want it to work and go to counseling as well because, as I've learned, usually people have equal amounts full/empty in their glass or they wouldn't have put up with each other's problems in the first place. Don't fall victim to her yelling or outbursts, but rather listen and then ask her if you can talk calmly about the issue at hand without the kids present. Just a suggestion for the kids' sake.
I wish you well in whatever you decide, but as my Christian counselor pointed out, forgiveness isn't something you do for the undeserving perp, but rather for yourself. Also, if she doesn't get help, you have the right to leave WITH the kids for all of your sakes. Maybe this will allow her to see that she really does need help or fall of the deep end so they see she is not fit for full-time parenting.
I keep bringing up the counsellor thing, but unless she actually makes the appt, it is pointless, because she will not try if her heart isn't in it. I would never have blamed her for my heart condition, it was just the not coming to see me, and that was 3 years ago, obviously still hurts me along with everything else. We just had a great weekend with kids, then came back to the house, and as usual she switched back. Its very frusterating. Being in the house changes her.
Do you actually feel guilty, because I struggle to think she actually feels guilty, she always gets mad at me for not forgiving her. We have been through all counselling, so part of me thinks it is useless too.
Sometimes she acknowledges that she has done something wrong, but then usually takes it back. I tell her that why would I trust you if you keep taking it back, then blaming me. That is why i have trouble getting over affair, I am not entirely sure she will not cheat on me again, even though she says she will not again(said that the first time).
I do know that I obviously have some issues or I wouldn't have put up with stuff this long, so I do take my part in all this. I do know I have also got more problems now because of all this. I need alot of therapy myself now. I know I am supposed to forgive its the forgetting and trusting I am having trouble with.
Leave the forgetting up to God if she's asked him for forgiveness. As humans, forgiving doesn't necessarily mean forgetting and trusting. It means not holding the offense against to offender anymore. I suggest reading the book "Total Forgiveness" to really understand what you are and aren't to do. Also, there's a few books out there for BPD spouses. I can't think of the titles off the top of my head, but I know Amazon sells them. Personally, I'm still impulsive, but I've learned to reroute those impulses most of the time and recognize them when they hit. I'm much less destructive and although I still have waves of anger on occasion, I've learned to express it in a calm manner so that it actually is listened to rather than outbursts or holding it inside, where it then turns to depression. Keep us updated on any moves she or you make in this!
I am at the point of just being paranoid that she is cheating all the time.So, it is hard to just trust her. Not that I do not want to trust, just cannot seem to let go. I have actually read one book called walking on eggshells years ago. She just e-mailed me at work and is fine again. Its such a rollercoaster of a life. Are you a Christiam, or just relating? I know I still want to be with her, as we have been together for 17 years, its just alot of work, and I never seem to get anything out of it for me as a husband. Not to be selfish, but, I have mad e life out of doing for her and making her happy.
Yes, I am a Christian and you sound a lot like my husband at times. Since you've read Walking on Eggshells, you probably understand a bit about her. Many of us though with BPD have underlying causes such as being victims to abuse and/or neglect in childhood. Has she dealt with anything like that in counseling? Until she does, she's not likely to change. Be careful to compliment her or react positively if you notice any efforts she does make. You don't HAVE to stay though if you are an abuse victim. If you really are committed to staying, help yourself and kids first so they can at least see some example of a healthy parent through you. I know our kids will have suffered some due to my spouse and I both. That's a tough pill to swallow. If you can talk your wife into psychotherapy, I HIGHLY recommend it! It has made all the difference for me and insurance covers it usually too.
I was just confirming if you actually believed in Jesus because I wanted to know if that has helped you through your own stuff? Yes, she has had a past as you have explained with alot of abuse, and has been to DBT, stayed at christian woman's recovery centre for 3 months, as well as a 12 step for life for christians(that we are both in). She has dealt with these issues each time, although she always seems to come back to it, and it is almost like she has forgotten that she has forgiven and moved on. I do not mean she just has risidual stuff later, she will actually start all over and tell me revelations that she has said before, and not know she has told me this a year ago.So, she HAS dealt with it(many times). What is different about psychotherapy? I have always encouraged her when she has made progress, but, then she will just (go back), and not remember that she ahs made progress(sometimes for up to a few months). I have always tried to be the model parent, but, after she cheated on me, I kinda lost myself a bit(getting paranoid, anxious etc) I was always the strong one, outgoing, took kids out, played sports, loving God. That changed, and I still having trouble trusting God after 4 years, anyways, sort of got off track there.
I am still in it. I have periods where I can make it for 2 months in between visits now and some where I need in on a regular basis. Without it, I don't know where I would be. I tried other types of counseling/therapy and psychotherapy just really has worked wonders for me. It's a journey for a while that seems relentless, but if you could encourage your wife to journal, she could see how far she really has come. I have had periods where I slip, but my episodes are never as bad as the last and now I can own up to my actions. I am medicated, but my psychotherapist monitors me closely, unlike a family doc could do, and he adjusts my meds according to my needs at that time. Currently, I am going down on some of them and that feels great!
I see, good hear. I have tried to ask her to try psychotherapy, but she has said she will let God help her. I believe God gives us the tools and medication. Although our family Doctor has just given her Paxil, which has not always worked. I am not really sure how to convince her to do that and change meds
She has to want the change. If you try and push it on her, she will resent you more and be less likely to get the treatment she needs. Paxil isn't much at all for someone with BPD. She may have to hit rock bottom before she's ready for additional help, but I hope for all of your family's sake that's not the case.
I never really push her to do anthing, as that like you said leads to resentment(and usually a couple months of stress. You know the funny thing is that she HAS hit rock bottom, that is when she had some flashbacks and started to freak(4 years ago). That is when she cheated on me. It did not make her want to get help though. And like I said she has been to many different therapies. When she went to the christian women's home, that was another rock bottom. What would rock bottom be to you? I do agree, I think the paxil doesn't work, I think it just sustains and only sometimes. She has been on it almost 10 years now. Nobody has ever suggested she change to anything else. Sometimes I feel like it is ground hog day everyday in my house, because she will have revelations that she has had many times over and say,"I need some help". Then go to another therapy. So, its a little frusterating watching all this for me.
Rock bottom came twice for me. Once was after I tried to kill myself, and two was after my husband rounded up the kids and said he was officially leaving because they were not safe with me because I was too unstable. She may say she needs help and believe that, but it sounds like unless you go to extreme measures, she's going to continue in her cycle. Try your best not to feed into that cycle and then she'll have to figure something else out.
I am sorry to hear that, as she has as well tried that, but not for a few years now. When I told her to leave after she cheated on me 4 years ago, it sent her into a spiral, and she got worse and did some dispicable things, but, then when it did not work out she was back and wanting back in after 5 weeks. She has been up and down since then, this week we are in an upward go(which is good) just waiting for the next wave. It is so hard not to feed into cycle when she is doing well, as it has been so many years of this, it is hard not to enjoy it, but, then she will again catch me offguard in my euphoricstupor, as she always does. I am still hopeful we are still going to counselling in the next couple months, although it hasn't been talked about in a couple weeks(only when things are bad.)
I think your wife may be chasing after the good (which she feels will ultimately help her and heal her). I would strongly recommend psychoanalysis. Sometimes our wounds occur at a very early age and these are what need correcting. Many therapies, in my experience, dbt included, don't address this.
Meds haven't really shown to be that beneficial for people with bpd. They have a role but I think people over-rely on them and also don't take responsibility for working through the issues. Meds don't cure, at best they help to manage symptoms.
I have heard people say that paxil has significant withdrawal effects. If she does wean off this makes sure she does an adequate taper.
Has your wife been screened for bipolar? Was just a thought. Some people with bpd also have bp.
Are there ways you could help your wife to better manage her moods so that they are more stable? My mother has severe head injuries and her moods can fluctuate quite a bit too. I have found if she doesn't get excessively stressed or tired she can manage much more effectively.
She has definately dealt with alot of her past, but maybe not all. Sometimes, and in this case, going back to your past all the time, can be self depreciating, she has dealt with her past in many therapies, over the past 5 years. Sometimes it can keep you down, as i have had stuff in my own past as well. I do believe new meds may help, but that she still needs therapy as well. No she has never been tested for Bipolar, what is that anyway? She definately gets worse when she is stressed out. Obviously over the years, I have tried to minimize her stress, but, hard to do with 4 kids, and stopped doing as much when she cheated on me(I got resentful)
Dealt with it or talked about it on a superficial level? I don't think you would be experiencing the stress and chaos you are if she had of resolved her earlier issues.
If it is self-depreciating then it hasn't been adequately addressed. Once a person has moved on there is usually acceptance without the sense of shame, etc.
In some therapies what I experienced was a therapist putting a plaster over something that was badly inflamed and infected. Sometimes we do enough to cover the wound up only to have the scab removed time and time again but no real work is being done on the underlying issue. Probably not a very eloquent way of communicating it but I expect you will understand what I am trying to say. I don't know if you could substitute examples from your own life and see how they have affected you. For me an example could be at home where when I have had an issue my father would say it's alright. It wasn't alright and having my concerns swept under the mat, so to speak, would feel invalidating. Problem-solving the issue would have been more constructive and less stressful.
If you are in good therapy then you should typically only improve. There may be short periods of regressions but these eventually help you to move further forward. If therapy feels extremely negative all the time I would challenge you to find a new therapist. It shouldn't be like that.
Bipolar is a mood disorder, it means you have both highs and lows. The highs and lows could have just been from the bpd. It was just a thought.
Maybe you need to create a little more structure. Develop a regular routine. Would spending more time together or doing things together help you and your family.
Have you ever seen an episode of SuperNanny? She has some really good ideas. I feel you have some key elements to be a happy, functional family unit but it just seems like some basic stuff is missing.
Sorry to interrupt your conversation with the other member.
You could be right, I do not know if she actually just masked it or dealt with it, as I do not know actually when she is truly happy or not, with all the ups and downs. When she came back from the Christian woman's home though she did seems generally happy, and changed for a bit, but, when life started again(me and the kids) the stress factor comes in. She then went down hill. Like last night, it was raining all day, and the kids couldn't go outside, so they had alot of energy to burn off and got a littl rowdy, she was getting very stressed about that. Then i have to intervene, sometimes to tell her to cool a bit, as she can be snappy to the kids for no reason(I know this happens to people anyway) but, she gets really stressed, and cannot handle it. I will also have to tell kids to calm down, when sometimes they are just being kids, and not really loud, just playing.
I have definately had somethings in my own life, like my own father was not a nice guy, and neither was my stepfather, and they were both very abusive, one physically, one emotionally and verbally. So, I think from that I used to pretend that did not affect me, but, I have noticed that, I myself have abandonment issues, and maybe be a little TOO forgiving wwhen my wife does not treat me very well, because I am used to it maybe.
Not sure about Bipolar, as I have had too many other symptoms to deal with.
I have actually been trying to spend more quality time with my wife to get closer, I know this important in any marriage. Summer is hard for her with kids home all day, and I am sure that calluna13 can attest to this as she has similar background and has 3 kids. I guess I really do not know YOUR background, so I am not sure if you deal with this as
well. I do believe our family has alot of good stuff there, we just need to deal with the other things. And no worries, I appreciate all incite(in regards to other conversation)as I may deal with this, but do not have it myself, so it is very helpful.
For me I usually feel happier during 'up' periods. But not always.
Maybe another stint at the Christian Woman's home would be helpful for her. If it helped her in the past it may help her again. I think the challenge would then be to implement things she has learnt there to her life at home with you and the kids. Just an idea.
When you're stressed, especially when you're already unwell, you can feel particularly vulnerable. For me sometimes noise, etc can be difficult to deal with. Sometimes things like that feel magnified. Maybe telling her to cool isn't such a great idea. I know that when I feel stressed, etc that can make things worse. Validation usually works well.
Could measures have been taken earlier with the kids to prevent it getting to that point? Sounds like some structure and parental involvement would be helpful. I don't mean that negatively. Kids just seem a lot happier (and compliant) when they have boundaries and love. Maybe I'm not explaining it very well.
You do it because it is in your nature. You shouldn't do it at the cost of your own self-respect though. Maybe you could try by telling your wife how her behavior makes you feel. Perhaps focus more on your feelings than her behavior?? That may help her to gain some insight into her behavior and with that she may be able to make changes.
Maybe you entered the relationship with your wife because she needed you (and loved you) when others didn't (and abused you)?
Could the kids be taken to the park or maybe even enrolled in a short program so that she at least has a little time to herself each day? Could be difficult in these financial times.
I'm single with no children. I have one three year old nephew. I find relating and relationships difficult. In life I can feel quite anxious around people. Probably because I feel inadequate and like a failure.
Addressing the other things could turn it from good into great. It sounds like you both have a lot of good qualities. Focusing on those strengths could be helpful at times too.
She would never go back to christian woman's home, as she thinks she doesn't need it anymore. I think she came home too early, and could have benefitted staying longer. I realize telling her to calm down isn't always a great idea, but, it gets me really stressed when she goes into her moods alot of the time.(almost 17years of this). I try to validate her when I can, measure could not have prevented anything in this matter, as it is all with HER moods, sometimes she is ok with them doing whatever, and sometimes not.
I have tried to tell her MY feelings, but, she ALWAYS gets defensive, very stressfull, so I do not bother anymore. I do love her, I just wish this could all be worked out.
We are looking into enrolling the kids into a week long program which would be good. I just got back to work and make VERY good money now.So, we do not have the strain of not having any, but, she is also a shopoholic. I am sorry that you have trouble being around people, that must be tough. I used to be an outgoing person, but, since being with my wife and going through the affair, I have developed major anxiety, which is tough, because I work on an engineering team, and need to get a handle on it. i also think i have picked up some of her traits. Thanks for chatting nice to have someone who knows about this stuff.
Thanks I appreciate that. Lately we have been struggling again. She is getting back into working out, wanting to change her wardrobe, and was not drinking anything at all before, and now she wants a drink once in a while. Also, from a christian perspective, she stopped reading her bible(of which she read all day everyday before. Although, none of these things are truly bad, changing all this within 2 months scares me a bit(also because i am still paranoid, I fear of being hurt by her cheating on me again). Do you think it is possible, that she just wants to feel better(probably a redundant question, because of course it is possible)but, because i know BPD's think differently I wonder. Do you think it is more of a inner change, or would this be a sign of something bad to change this drastic. I just know she is a person of habit, and when all this changes, it is a red flag. She also has been more distant, and snapping, so, I know it isn't to get me to notice her. Probably just being paranoid, but, since it has happened before, I am very concerned. Although her moods change constantly, this is the most drastic change in the past 2 years. Of course i ask her, and she says nothing is wrong, which I know is not the truth. You have a very similar life, and may have some more incite as to this thought patter. Please let me kow if you see anything that would be helpful
Joey's post caught my eye and I thought my own son had posted! He has been married for 19 years and has 4 sons. After a family vacation 2 years ago that turned into a nighmare, I scoured the internet for answers. Came upon a sight called "Tears and Healing" and knew that I had found the answers for the turmoil in their lives all these years. I could write a book on all the ups and downs. My daughter in law is a wonderful, giving girl in so many ways...but this disorder is a nearly impossible to deal with. A family vacation disaster brought everything to a head. It was unbelievable as it played out... she overheard members of the family asking how much longer they were they going to have to walk on eggshells, that she was sick and needed help etc etc. You can imagine what that did...she was destroyed...and they packed and left. A few days later she had a business trip which led to a brief affair. My son was devasted! She blamed that on her weakened condition from overhearing the terrible things said about her! Never did she look inward at how she may have played a roll in all this. Most of our large family have been ostracized from their family. They went to a Christian counselor but I don't think this counselor is the type to address these issues. Of course she is undiagnosed... after a year the counselor suggested she may have PTSD. As I read up on that, she may have some aspects but a type of personality disorder seems to fit her symptoms much better. I have read that maybe some insurance does not cover BPD and does cover PTSD...so counselors diagnose what may be covered. They did some eye therapy and gave her a book..she seemed to consider that but as time passed that went by the wayside. Whenever the counselor does not agree with her she stops going!
Finally like Joey, my son could take no more of the verbal abuse. He packed a bag and left on Fathers Day...moved in with my single son temporarialy.
There are both college grads but her career line was more definite and after their 4th son was born, they did not want sitters and together decided he would be the stay at home Dad. Unless a couple are mentally healthy that can cause it's own problems...I could see the handwriting on the wall! She is the doninant force and runs her career and the home from afar...my son is like a paid nanny..but no pay! He knows he is not perfect
He does not really want a divorce although he has seen an attorney and has the papers ready. Every day is a new crisis...every hour sometimes!
It is so very sad... Normal marriage counseling cannot work with this unerlying problem that she refuses to admit...she does not wish to go back to the problems of childhood...thinks she has put them behind her. She definitely has at least 5 of the 8 listed symptoms, Black & white thinking, anger, hourly mood swings, raging and the terrible home life as a child.. I don't remember the rest...form things she has said her Mom may have a similar problem. He can do nothing right...and even when he follows directions to the letter of the law...it is something else! Sometimes when she tells me her problems with my son...I have to agree that he could do better. He knows he is not perfect...has human flaws..but this is not normal. She happened to run into one of my sons at a smoothie restaurant...so upset she had to come home from work and go to bed! The other night my grandson was in a baseball final tournament. She asked my son to tell his brother he could not attend. My son did not answer her but did not do it...when my other son showed up, he did not come over to us but stood on the other side. She was livid...turned to me and said this is why our marriage will never work...your son will not respect my wishes! He never has my back...he will not protect me! Of course this other son has never intruded on their family since the vacation...only attended a couple of the kids games. But I must say he refused to aologize for the things that were said by him on that vacation. They were all true he said & he would feel like a hypocrite. I begged him to please just say he was sorry for hurting her but he won't...so she especially has him on the black side. In the midst of all these years they have good times...and are somewhat soulmates which she asknowledges. Our family is fractured because of this...and we are all so devasted along with my son...and of course she hates all this to...but thinks most of the problems are my sons!
My final thoughts suggest a legal separation...a new counselor for my son to get him back on his feet so he can began work again...and see what happens down the road. He is beaten down and I doubt he could even find a job when he is like this...it won't be easy after 8 years at home...and this job market. Unfortunately he will have to have some spousal support to survive until that time...She will need all of her salary to keep things going...maybe she will have to borrow from her 401K. If they can't work this out it will have to be attorneys which is costly.
When I tell this story to close friends they can't believe it...unless you are in the middle of this crisis...you have no idea what havoc plays out.
And what about the children...I must walk on eggshells there...afraid to say a word...even to say, you know I am always here if you need to talk...because if they would say anything to their Mother, she would cut me out without a thought.
I have searched for magic answers but there are none. I pray she will finally open her eyes but even then it would be a very long road to travel. Maybe if my sons pulls himself together that will help.
Thank you for listening...I will pray for everyone going through this terrible ordeal!
I definately feel for you, on getting her help, i would say talk to someone on this forum for advice, as for your son, would he be will to talk with me, as we could possibly chat and maybe help each other with ideas that work. It is very hard to stand up to BPD's sometimes as it is sometimes just easier to take it, so if he did nothing wrong I would encourage him to not apologize unless he did, or she will keep controlling and manipulating him.
Complex-ptsd could be another option. You may like to check that out too.
EMDR is said to be effective. I once had a therapist who was really good and she swore by EMDR. I was too anxious for her to do that with me though. We did it twice, I think.
Welcome to our world. Sometimes just getting through the seconds in each day is tough. It can feel excruciating to live your life second by second. It's rough.
It would seem like your daughter-in-law needs a lot of validation. I too, was one of those people who couldn't take responsibility for everything being wrong. I would probably say that the therapist wasn't a good fit for her. Probably she is also best away from a therapist who is not helpful, as I expect her therapist wasn't.
I suspect your son and his wife would do better if he were well and functional.
Maybe a separation would precipitate the crisis that makes her seek help??
Maybe your son could persuade her to return to therapy.
You know, I think people with bpd will respect someone for standing up to them providing it doesn't take away from them coping. I think I would have liked someone to be firm with me in my earlier years of the diagnosis. That doesn't mean being arbitrary though. It's so complicated to try and explain. Boundaries can be good though.
Keep pushing the therapy I guess.
I use to get support from some bpd yahoo health groups. I know they have support groups for Christians and for spouses of people with bpd. A.J. Mahari has founded several of the groups and most of her stuff is OK. I would recommend having a look at several of the different support groups there and see if they are helpful.
Joey, I'll check with my son. I have encouraged him to look at these sites on the net but so far he hasn't. I copied info for him and gave him a folder to read now that he is alone at times.
Jakuta, It is really helpful to hear from someone who has this disorder. I was thinking the same regarding a separation. We'll see if that can be worked out. I have 5 children and this son is the middle child. When you read about siblings they say that middle chillden are the peace makers of the group...and that fits my son. My DIL says that he would rather keep peace with the family or friends than honor her decisions. I can't be sure but I think this applies when her requests seem so totally unreasonable to him...such as forbidding my other son to attend their sons game. Another example...over these two years with the family she gradually began to allow some family to attend special occasions. I do think she feels bad that their children don't have the pleasure of their cousins and is trying. At First Communion of her youngest son this year, she asked my son to stand between her and my youngest daughter as they arrived. Somehow this didn't happen and my youngest daughter gave her a hug with her hello. She handled it in the church but later was furious ... another example of how my son does not protect her! On each occasion we learn something new in this "walking on eggshells" life. I must get that book and read and pass on to my son.
She is the perfect example of the high functioning type...excellent at her job. She has never had a complete breakdown of any kind. Anger is a big part of her response and she is trying to work on that. Honestly you would never know that she has a fear of abandonment.
Boundaries became a huge topic with the counselor. She says we are a family with no boundaries! Maybe that is somewhat true although it was never anything that caused problems before. The rest of us seem to be able to set aside our individual desires when we are together as a group...even the other in laws. We miss each other and look forward to gathering a couple times a year. But she has so many rules that it seems to always cause problems for her...which she doesn't hesitate to show. Normally not a big scene...but awkward and uncomfortable. Like with my son...it is impossible for us to do everything right...we never know what may set her off. So our vacation 2 years ago turned into this great fiasco...everyone is done walking on eggshells! The rest of the family have their own lives to lead...and do not truly understand what is driving her...and they live in other cities. They all care for her and wish they could wave the magic wand but have their own life problems to deal with. They live only a few miles from us...so naturally I am more involved with their lives...but I keep my distance. I believe she realizes that I do truly love her.
I have seen some sites that suggest there is a way to learn how to respond with someone with this disorder. My son certainly needs that...sometimes the way he words things with the best of intentions...causes more problems. Even I can see that. Do you think learning how to handle your responses could be helpful?
At present I am waiting to hear from my son. Yesterday they had an all day outing with friends for a charity...she had declined but my son encouraged her to go with him. Golf and a party after. She called me mid-day as I was to pick up one of the kids and get him to work...she sounded so happy...like the day was going well! I pray it did. And yet not so well that my son stayed over night...it is too soon I think for him to let by gones be bygones...no problems really resolved as yet.
Until happiness or more crisis...I would love to be hopeful!
I understand. I am the second eldest of five children. I think I am more of a peace maker than my younger brother. Family dynamics change over time and siblings seem to be closer or more distant due to events and circumstances. Maybe my role was more of protecting and keeping the family unit intact. Maybe also a little of a black sheep due to mental illness. People will use me or abuse me as long as they have their physical and emotional needs met. I am starting to assert myself more which is good though.
So maybe the DIL feels like she is less important. I think that relationship should take precedent (while being flexible of course).
I don't like a lot of physical contact from my family (or family members I consider bad). BPD sometimes leaves a person with very limited psychological defenses so our body then becomes that defense. If people get too close it can feel like a very real violation.
I myself are not a huge fan of some of those books and find some of them quite offensive. I have found some of the clinical texts more helpful as it is language that I can understand (is clinical and does not involve emotions) and some of them provide more useful interventions.
I think my abandonment issues mainly come out when I get the mail. I feel rejected if there are no letters for me (which there usually aren't as I don't write).
I have problems with boundaries with my family too. We are reasonably close as we grew up in our garage together. I do take exception to people walking around naked and burping and farting in my personal space. My family don't get this. I guess for me in some ways that conveys a lack of respect. I guess it's not a bad thing that everybody feels comfortable in their own skin but for me it's a bit too much.
You shouldn't tip toe around issues but you should be sensitive and respectful to her.
Rules are a way for her to structure her world when her internal world is so fragmented. Rules provide structure and predictability which help to control stress and anxiety.
Possibly. I know I have triggers and when I am unwell the last thing I want to hear from my mother is stuff like, nothing's wrong, everybody gets anxious, get a job. Stuff like that. I just find it totally undermining and invalidating. I have been able to share some stuff with my mother and I think it has helped her to understand. We still have a long way to go. I manage to cope with a lot myself (for example sometimes safety issues are there 24/7). That's exhausting and then to have someone tell you that this is normal or that everyone feels like this just does my head in.
I think that both parties need to make some concessions. The bulk of the responsibility should lie with the person with bpd though. It is we who need to adapt to the world. Making larger seats for bigger people is nice but it doesn't address the issue. While they may need a larger seat at that point in their life I still believe that they should be working towards becoming healthier. I hope that makes sense.
I learned that how a person interacts with you is likely how they will interact with others (to a point. They will still take the same skill sets, etc. How I relate to you will likely be similar to how I relate to my family and other people here.)
I am thinking that while the DIL may have enjoyed your son's company she may have found the outing quite stressful.
It has taken a lot of crises to get where I am now. And maybe just a little bit of pigheadedness because it have been a struggle to survive bpd let alone survive it when health professionals and others seem intent on making it worse (unintentionally, of course). I often wonder if I could have, or if others could, get to this point in recovery without all the adversity and drama. ?? I should be grateful that I am still alive and have the opportunity to make changes but I often feel resentful at all the losses. A lost childhood. Just so many losses. I have gained too though. Without bpd I never would have met anyone here and I have learnt a lot about myself from others. I find others stories inspiring too.
She should really be accessing support with all these ups and downs.
What does she think is the problem (other than you)? Has she no insight into her behavior?
Sounds like she may be trying to wall herself off from the world to protect herself. Maybe she is reflecting a little more at this time.
She isolates herself from anyone that DOES want to be her friend or support her, and I have always encouraged her to do that (go hang out with people). No, she has very little insight into what she does. Once in awile she will relate that she does but not very often. She has always seen me as her father as she has told me,(even though I have no desire to be so). Because she has been incapable of handling many situations, and also over the years allowed me to take over everything(due to not being able to function at times)then turns around and says I am bossing her around and trying to be her father. (this drives me crazy). I do believe you are right, that she does "wall" herself to protect herself, even after all these years. I am not sure if she is reflecting or what she is doing half the time.
That kind of reminds me how I view my GP. I see him as more of a parent figure (or a brother). I kind of look up to him and look to him for advice and guidance.
It may be that we idealize these people (me my doctor, your wife you) but this is relatively healthy in a sense. It shows an attachment or a connection. I think the goal is to go from idealizing to integrate the splits, the good and the bad, and to compete and have equal relationships (where there is both give and take).
That's just the contradictory nature of bpd. I expect she wants to feel cared for and be taken care of but another part also wants some autonomy or independence.
When I am going through a particularly bad phase (usually when my needs are not met and I'm expected to tolerate the distress for long periods) then I will withdraw from people. Even those I sometimes feel desperate to connect with. Could be a sign of deepening depression too. Something that needs to be monitored.
What is her relationship with her father like? Maybe some of her unresolved issues include her father or feelings she has about him.
I definately know she wants to be cared for, as she usually expects me to handle absolutely everything in our lives, finances, kids(as far as guidence, school etc)work etc. The only thing she wants do is have fun with the kids. Take them shopping(her main activity) or play games at home with them(which is only when she is not stressed). When we are arguing she will be over dramatically happy with the kids(this really agravates me) as she may have just ripped my heart out with something she has said, and is then able to go about her day like nothing has happened.
I will not get into her relations with her parents, I will just say, there is a definate reason we have not spoken to them in many years.
"You shouldn't tip toe around issues but you should be sensitive and respectful to her.
Rules are a way for her to structure her world when her internal world is so fragmented. Rules provide structure and predictability which help to control stress and anxiety."
Your statement above was very helpful and I will pass it along to my family. This subject of rules that the DIL insists on seems to be the area that causes stress in the other members of the family. I have 14 grandchildren ages 8 to 17...quite a group. When we "were" all together, flexibility has to be the name of the game with that many kids. But the rules set in place by her cause much underlying friction. Everyone tries to keep a lid on their response but to respond, even respectfully, creates a bit of anger on her part...and then ruins the entire visit. I mentioned how truly unselfish she is...they have the perfect layout in their home to handle the entire group...and she seemed to love having everyone. At Christmas's past we were together for 2-3 days. But being in her home requires following her rules...don't misunderstand...there were many good times...but over the years the friction has built to become a mountain...as on the vacation 2 yrs ago.
So what we have here is a dysfunctional marriage. The DIL's way of looking at the world which my son tried to abide by to keep the peace & of course he could never do it to her liking and his own dysfunctional reasons. he has his own things...such as a love of gambling which he keeps to a real minimum once or twice a year...sports...attending games. So their life became ...if you do this..then I can do that! Trade offs to get what they wanted or needed. But never solving anything and then the crisis came...the vacation mess...and an affair. And two years of hades ensued until my son could take no more and left.
Now the next crisis ...she met with her co-volleyball coach (they coach her son) for dinner and on another ocassion went to his apartment to watch a movie...all in the matter of a week (a few weeks ago). My son babysitting thinking she was out with girlfriends. And the VB coach has just separated from his wife. My son soon put 2&2 together and was furious. Her response was she was lonely since he moved out and they were just friends discussing there marriage problems.. although admitted he made a move on her! DIL says if she must give up this VB (two men & two girls) then my son must agree to X his brother from their life completely. Counselor said...table the issues for now. of course that made her happy because she could continue VB. My son was behaving like a dictatorial brute...and after advice from me and a friend ...backed off and said finish the series of games because a very nice girl he trusts would be going with her. First game since all of this, was last night...he found out she had not been totally truthful...the girl wasn't playing until 2 games later and that she wanted now to go to a tournament! Thats it ..he is done he says! Her words.as he left..if you choose your brother over me then you might as well file for a divorce. The brother has only gone to 2 games in 2 years and she invited him to First communion, which she now regrets...this is crazy. How can you compare the two...a brother who stays away from their family nearly always and VB with a separated man who has designs on you! It seems to me she is using this to get to play VB...hopefully for only that reason. But then I am naive!. She just called me asking me to watch kids while they go to counselor late this afternoon. Wish I could talk to this C....think she just doesn't get it.
It seems impossible to deal with the dysfunction in this marriage while at the same time deal with her thinking (BPD) which of course she doesn't even acknowledge and apparently the counselor doesn't see! Am feeling very hopeless...
Any brief words of wisdom from anyone...please chime in.
You may need to negotiate with her the 'rules' if she is the one setting them.
I remember how unrealistic my rules and beliefs use to be. I was a school bus monitor when I was at school. Before our bus was due to depart I rang the bell and organized everybody so that we were all ready to go. For me personally I would have preferred that everybody stood to attention in a regimented line. Looking back on this I can see how unrealistic and crazy this was. I didn't feel as though I could relax though because the line wasn't straight and all this other stuff. I guess I overlooked that the point was to get everybody on the bus in a timely manner. Kids are kids -what was I thinking?
I guess a lot of this just reflected what my mother in particular projected onto me.
It's hard looking back and seeing how uninsightful I was and just how messed up my childhood was, despite being raised by parents who cared (?cared enough ??).
I think in her house be respectful of her rules but elsewhere ... live as you normally would. It's hard being so anxious that everything has to be perfect but changing and controlling others to conform to our world probably isn't the best idea. She needs to understand that you need to be yourselves. You shouldn't have to be some crazy puppet being twirled around to meet her needs (which aren't being fulfilled anyway).
She's lost the plot some I would say. What she is asking is totally irrational.
Psychotherapy, for psychological problems, is often more beneficial than just straight counselling. People can talk around their issues for years if they want too and not resolve anything.
Maybe she feels threatened by your family? Controlling family visits is often a sign of an abusive (or unwell/ unstable) partner.
If they see a good therapist then intervention by you possibly isn't necessary. My mum tried to interfere with my therapy but my T said that mum would have to ask my permission before she would speak to her. This creates a safe place in therapy.
Hopeless and frustrated I would say. Maybe you need to set limits of your own. Don't encourage any behavior that you feel is dysfunctional. Be open and honest. It's interesting how she has managed to assert herself on your family in a sense.
It's ironic in a sense because we are said to have not very good relational skills yet we seem able to upset whole systems. Me, my mhs, your dil, your family.
I don't know what to advise. My family unit is quite dysfunctional/ enmeshed so from my perspective it makes more sense for me to work towards becoming healthier. If you are a healthy family unit, and you sound like you are, with the exception of your dil, then you should continue to do what you normally would.
Was just wondering if she felt overwhelmed by your family. Maybe do your thing but also give her space. Do what you feel is best. Seek professional support for yourself and your family if you feel that is what is needed. It may help you more than talking here with us. I wish I had the knowledge and expertize to be able to help you.
I just wrote a long response and it did not go through. I have terrible problems with Yahoo and apparently it just did not work this time...did not understand I have to log in there too. no time...later.
I feel for you. I hate it when that happens. I just about lost a long post I wrote too but fortunately managed to save it and resend it. I'm not the world's most literate person on the computer. I hate admitting that I don't have the skills I would like.
I hope everything is going OK. It's been good having your input on this site.
Have you spoken to your son about having a conversation with me. I read your comments, and discussions with Jaquta, and cannot help feeling like he could use someone who KNOWS what he is going through on his end as the Non-BP. You both have very interesting perspective on it, one being the one with BPD, and one with someone in another household, it is also a very different thing to LIVE with someone with BPD, and be the target of their mood swings, from being everything to them, then the next minute being an enemy, and not even knowing why. Just a thought.
Talking to someone who can relate is always validating and can go a long way towards healing.
Hey, we live with it too (meaning we live with someone with it. Sometimes that's how it feels, me vs the disorder). Just feeling a little alienated there. I understand what you mean though.
I think where we are in our recovery plays a huge part. I feel as though I am only at the very beginning of mine although I know I have come a long way already. It can sometimes be hard to accept that people don't like the negative in us which often feels like people don't like us and even HATE us. Are we really that bad? We are people with thoughts and feelings too and have the ability to feel hurt.
I don't necessarily think that the why is all that important, not to a person without bpd anyway.
My doctor keeps on reiterating, or did, that he is fallible too. I think this can be helpful at times to know that others are capable of making mistakes too. That is still very black and white for me (either good or bad) but on some level I get what he is saying.
Are you really the target of the mood swings? I don't think it is a personal thing, not really, or not all of the time.
It would be nice if this were easy to work though and wasn't so confusing.
Wow, do you ever sound like my wife( I mean that personality wise), and about the alienated thing. I never meant that you were not people, I just meant that Us Non-BPD's(and I can say this with 17 years of experience living with someone who has it), need to verify that we are NOT the ones with it. It is sometimes hard to decifer, when you are being told day in and day out that YOU are the problem. And yes, I AM being targeted, as when she is in her mood swings she directs it towards me, as I am the easiest target for her. So, for me when she does that, it is personal, or it is hard not to take it personally anyway. Yes, it would be nice if it was just a matter of going to counselling and be done with it, however, it is years of dealing with STUFF, and working through.
It does sound like you are a battered husband. I guess for those people with bpd who are a little more insightful they understand that the you is never really about you, it is about them. It can be hard to separate the two sometimes though due to really intense emotions. It's really, really hard to try and explain and describe to someone the intensity of those emotions.
I was having a black and white moment because sometimes people are the target and sometimes they aren't. Sometimes they are just a scapegoat for someone to vent. Maybe it is seen as justified (although we all know it isn't).
It's only personal if you identify with it. You could just reflect back to her that it isn't your issue. Or better still describe your perception or reality.
Maybe you should leave?
I know early on people always put heaps of pressure on me to change. Change for someone with bpd is not easy. Stuff has to be resolved on an emotional level and all this other stuff also needs to happen.
If she's not committed to change and making the relationship work and you can't deal with things as they are you should perhaps consider leaving. Just a thought.
Why do you say I sound like a battered husband, was not intending to sound like that? I never said i wanted to leave her, I just want us to find some peace in our marriage. Right now there is, but, could change in an hour, a day, or a month, never know. That is all I meant.
God also says that as a father you should guard and guide your flock as he does with the church. You have a moral obligation to protect your children from an unstable and abusive parent ( Both of which seem to describe your wife). I've been in a longterm relationship with a borderline man. I just finally broke free. Let me tell you. Healing BP is an EXTREMELY long hard road for the person affected. Even with constant medication and therapy and a PROFOUND DESIRE to address their issues and problems most BPs never fully recover because it is a personality issue and at the very core of their beings they are so damaged that they don't have the tools to even see how to change or the need to.
Don't get me wrong. I have empathy and sympathy for anyone suffering BP. It is such a painful issue for them. HOWEVER, they don't have a choice but to live with it. YOU DO HAVE A CHOICE.
What you are modeling to your children is a model of extreme disfunction and abuse, YES ABUSE. Is that what you want them to internalize as normal or acceptable. Do you want ANY OF THEM to spend their life going through the pain that you are suffering?
I am very Catholic. I understand a religious belief that marriage is forever. However, think long and hard about the responsibility that God gave you when he gifted you with your beautiful children. Your FIRST priority should be protecting them. You CAN'T do that if your wife is acting this way. And don't think for a minute that they aren't affected by it or that the majority of the problem is being hidden from them.
If you are walking on eggshells so are they. If you feel mistreated and abused they see it and they will come to believe it is acceptable and appropriate UNLESS YOU SHOW THEM OTHERWISE.
It is hard. Breaking away from a borderline is even harder. they keep hoovering you back in... But the bottom line is that neither you nor your children should need to live in fear of what your wife is going to do next. It's not about loving her or respecting your faith or religious beliefs about marriage. It is about providing for their mental physical and emotional wellbeing... and as long as you stay with her when she continues this pattern you aren't doing that.
I don't think its fair to say that people with bpd never recover, i have recently been diagnoised with it and my only hope is too recover, i have a partner and children who love me and i would never hurt them. It isn't fair to class everyone with bpd the same, i don't want to be viewed as a damaged person, it isn't our fault our personalities are the way they are its all the abuse and trauma most of us endured as children.
Please do not missunderstand my posts on here. I am not looking to leave my wife. I DO love her and want to be with her, I was just looking for other folks to talk to so I can be happy with her. i have 4 childeren with this woman. She does not lash out at my kids. I do realize that what she does to me affects the kids, but, I am also trying to show my kids that we can argue and then reconcile(that is healthy for kids to notice that we do not always get along, but, we always come back together. She definately has alot of issues, but, I have not spent the last 17 years to give up now. How long were you with yours for? People with BPD are the same as people without, they have a choice in getting better, maybe that is the difference, she has been in and out of therapy for years, but, that also shows that she wants to get better. She did not chose to be this way. Some other evil people from her childhood had alot to do with that, and she did not have a chance. I definately DO tell her to show some respect to me. My kids know that she has this, and pay attention when I let her know when it is unacceptable to talk to me in a certain way. She is still their mother, and if I left, not much would change, becasue they would still want to see her, as she does nothing TO them. YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN MY HOME, HAVE SPENT THEIR WHOLE LIVES LOVING AND PROTECTING THEM, NEVER ASSUME WHAT SOMEONE ELSE IS DOING
I am glad you said that, i have bpd and love my children like your wife i would never hurt them. I am also in therapy and trying. My partner and i fight and like we try to let our children know that people do fight and that we do make up again.
I am here if you need to talk as are many others. Take care
just saying what I feel. I may come across sometimes that I am tired, but, I know things would not be better raising 4 kids on my own. And she definately loves our kids. She is a good Mom, who struggles a bit with some things
Copyright 1994-2016 MedHelp International. All rights reserved.
MedHelp is a division of Aptus Health.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.