We have been together 3 years. 2 years ago we moved to a new city and share a beautiful home and successful life. The problems first started only when he drank too much. Just here or there a big fight, he would go from happy and having fun to angry. I had always done something wrong, as he put it, yet I never even knew what. He would just leave the bar/restaurant/wherever we were with no explanation. He has also gotten so drunk that he wets the bed. The next day he would usually apologize but if I ever wanted to talk about it, especially to figure out what had even happened, he would tense up and become angry. I started to think he was just a possible alcoholic.
Then the anger and mood swings started happening regardless of alcohol (though that still makes things dramatically worse). He will get jealous over EVERYTHING, my family, my dog, even if I am sitting next to him on the couch reading a book while he watches sports he get mad because I am not paying attention to him. I don't know how to act and feel like no matter what I do he turns it into the wrong thing.
His dad left when he was young and he still refuses to talk to him. He also doesn't really talk to his older brother because he was mean to him when they were in HS-making fun of him and beating him up. I don't know the extent of either of these relationships and what effect they have actually had. He does not like to talk about it.
He has a great job, totally uneffected by his behavior. His friends all know he has times when he acts crazy but just ignore it for the most part. If anyone tries to talk to him about it he blows it off. I have noticed that some of his friends have stopped hanging out as much and I think it is because of his outbursts.
The love/hate thing-that is our relationship. He has said such hateful things to me, it is hard to get over. He has also been physically violent on 2 occasions, threatens me, and has broken my things that I care for most (ruined pictures, damaged my computer, torn up books, etc). Once he even took my dog (small, indoor) and just pushed her outside into the street (we live on a busy city block).
When he has the episodes he never wants to talk about it, if i suggest he/we get professional help he gets very offended. He gets mad at me when he does things like wet the bed. He rarely even apologizes anymore, just wants to put it behind, like it never happened. We live in a house that he bought. In the past month, he has twice told me to get out (like "get the f%#* out of my house today or I will throw all your stuff out the window"). Then hours later he says to please stay.
I can see him struggling. He wants to be the happy, fun, loving person he is 90% of the time. He gets so embarrassed and ashamed of how he can act. I love him and want to marry him (he has already purchased a ring and we often discuss our future) but I don't know how to deal with this. I think the reason he hasn't purposed is because he knows how unstable his behavior is. It is very painful to see him hurting and also to deal with the emotional abuse. I really can't live with the constant uncertainty of not having a home at any time he gets angry. Some mornings he will wake up and not say one word to me. Then he may continue not speaking to me for a week. When he finally does talk to me he will act like that was totally normal. I never know why it happens and constantly obsess over going through every detail trying to figure out what I did wrong and how I could have avoided it. He really does have a hard time taking any responsibility for his behavior even though I know he knows something is very wrong, it's just hard to face.
My family is worried about my safety and they want me to move out. I feel the same at times but I also worry that if I move out he will feel abandoned. How do I help him see that this is not something we can handle on our own? I've tried suggesting couples counseling (he gets so offended if I say HE needs help) but he hasn't agreed to go. He also won't stop drinking. After a bad episode he stops, then slowly drinks here or there, then within 4-6 months there will be a night of heavy drinking and a major outburst. I just wait and walk on eggshells. The same cycle over and over. It is starting to make me feel bad about myself for allowing him to treat me this way.
What do I do? I do not have experience with BPD or any mental illness. At what point do I leave him for my own safety and mental health? How do I try to get him help without upsetting him? I feel so lost. The bottom line- I love him more than anything but am so frustrated with the unknown day to day and feeling like I am the only one who is trying to fix this. Can our relationship ever be ok?
Take a deep breath. This can work. :)
Hi, my name's Jess and I'm a borderline. Years ago my now husband and I went through what you're going through, except I was clearly on the opposite side from where you're standing. Your first move should be to immediately take a tough love approach to his actions and when he rages that "it's all your fault," calmly let him know that it is NOT your fault and that you love him, but not his behavior. BPD stems from abandonment and trust issues, usually from childhood and adolescence; this is why he is subconsciously beating you down, so you feel guilty and that you can't leave. If you genuinely care for him leaving will only make it worse for him and very likely for you. Second move, get yourself the book Stop Walking on Eggshells, enough said. Third, put your foot down and firmly insist that he sees a counselor because the future of your relationship depends on it. Also, so you're aware, alcohol and drug use if EXTREMELY common in borderlines (I am a recovering alcoholic myself). Do NOT let him manipulate you or make you feel guilty (we're very good at both of those). If step three fails, he may be in too deep at the moment... I would suggest as a substitute to number three getting him to see his family doctor for medication. People (mostly men) are sometimes more receptive to seeing a medical doctor instead because it doesn't come off as "weak." Many SSRIs can help with symptoms of BPD; I took Paxil for over 2 years and it worked well for me. It may prove to be easier to get him into therapy once he's medicated (not only that, but the doctor will STRONGLY advise him to quit drinking since SSRIs are processed by the liver).
Those are the best suggestions I can give you at the moment. I have more, however they would most likely only behove you once you've accomplished these first few steps. Remember to always remain calm and don't let yourself become empathetic - that can be detrimental to his success and your sanity as well. Keep me posted, good luck!
P.S. There's another book you may be interested in as well called I Hate You - Don't Leave Me. Sound familiar? ;) Also, everything you described is textbook BPD. Does he self-mutilate that you know of? If he does, that really needs to be priority numero uno.
Thank you so much for your advice. I have ordered the books and spent a lot of time on the bpdcentral site. He is unwilling to even consider the idea of bpd, medication, therapy, and will absolutely not stop drinking. Though I can see he is slowly moving closer to admitting he has a serious problem-even if only to himself-he still seems far from getting help.
After the last time he kicked me out of the house, which was terrible-he called the cops-wet his pants-threw all of our things out of the house-broke my cell phone, I swore to him and me that I would not go through this again. The very next weekend he did it again, this time even putting his shotgun on the couch next to me while telling me that he was going to "shoot all my **** up". I have moved out. We have talked and emailed and he literally goes back and forth from one sentence to the next with "my heart will break if you leave-I'm sorry-I need help" to "you are a liar and a hypocrite-you make me angry with your actions-to search for other guys in front of my face...."
I just don't know how to live day to day with this instability. But the last thing I EVER wanted to do is leave him. I am so afraid of the consequences. I recognized his fear of abandonment early on and have always assured him I would never leave him but I can't do this anymore.
He doesn't self mutilate in any way, just drinks heavily when he is upset.
I'm going to try suggesting the family doctor for medication. That is probably my best chance. He is not diagnosed so I wonder how that will work...if he gets referred to a psychologist he probably won't go:(
I love him and really do not want to lose him.
Hmmm... This is tough, but all borderlines are. Men generally have a harder time admitting they need help. Even though you didn't want to leave, if he was getting violent and out-of-control that is most definitely what's best. You need to remind him that you will not accept that sort of behavior no matter how much you love him and still want to be with him. I would ask him to SOBERLY reread his e-mails to you in hopes that he will recognize for himself that something is wrong; even borderlines have scant moments of clarity. The emotional lability is, as my husband has told me, the hardest part to deal with and unfortunately also the most common symptom. It is, again, the "I hate you - don't leave me," black and white thinking paradox which takes a lot of self-control to stop. He will NOT be able to stop that without help, I assure you.
As far as the family doctor for meds goes, the doctor can diagnose him with something as simple as depression or anxiety on the spot and prescibe an SSRI. It happens quite frequently that way to be honest. If he does agree to that you need to be aware that he won't change overnight. Anti-depressants take a long time to build up and sustain the serotonin levels in the brain. Unfortunately, for BPD patients, it takes longer than with most people with generalized anxiety and/or depression. Most people won't notice a difference for at least 2 months - in my case, my symptoms were severe enough that I didn't really notice much change until after 4 months of 40mg of Paxil daily. Some borderlines take up to 6 months for change at an excess of 100mg daily. I'm not trying to dishearten you in anyway, I just want you to be prepared for a long journey, even with meds. Another way to go, which I don't really suggest until after he's been in therapy for 6 months or so, is a "nerve pill" like Xanax or Ativan. They help calm symptoms more than anything, but they can be HIGHLY addictive as well as counter-productive. Not only that, but you experience what is known as benzo amnesia - you forget almost everything you are doing and have done while on them and in turn what the issue is at the heart of it all. I would consider benzodiazepines to literally be a last resort having taken them, however the doctor may say otherwise. Hopefully with the help of meds he'll stop drinking (as much) too. Let me know how it goes. Take care!
It has been almost 3 weeks since I completely moved out of our home. 3 very crazy weeks. We have talked some, mostly through emails. I have stayed at the house with him 2 times. Before I packed up all of my things and moved completely out (I had already been in a hotel for a week) I came home to spend the night with him and attempt to leave without causing him to feel abandoned, to assure him I loved him and was only physically leaving temporarily. Before we got to that talk he spent the afternoon being very sweet and also crying a lot. He didn't say anything very specific but he was definitely showing a realization that there was a serious problem (I had him read our emails as you suggested and that helped, he didn't totally acknowledge anything but he admitted that they were very contradicting and could see how I would feel insecure about what he said he wanted. He also said he had no idea why he was doing that-not sure if that is a good or bad sign). He said that he understood how he had taken me for granted and knew without that he did not want to lose me. Then he actually gave me a ring (which we picked out together months before and I had been hoping he would give me all summer) and asked me to marry him. He was bawling crying and kept saying how much he needed me-I didn't say anything but I did let him put it on my finger. It was both heartbreaking and frustrating, to see him in pain, to finally have something I really wanted in such a screwed up way, to know that he was asking me out of desperation to keep me, to know how terrified he was to put the last "card" he had to play, to know I couldn't accept it yet not know how to decline it without setting him off, and mostly just have all this in my mind and feel as though I couldn't share any of it with him. I didn't know what to do. After dinner he went to a friend's house to buy pot, came home and said he thought the pot was laced b/c he felt like he was having a panic attack. It was ridiculous. I was infuriated. After his "attack" was over I tried to talk to him-tell him I was leaving the next day to go to a studio I had rented for 6 months. I hoped that we would be able to continue our relationship and that living separately would give us each a chance to forgive-understand-trust-communicate-get better without the pressures from daily life and hopefully less episodes. He didn't even give me a chance. I had barely gotten 2 sentences out of my mouth to say I thought it was best if I leave and was glad that he had said (earlier in an email) that he too thought it was beneficial to live separately for a while. Then he got up and went to bed. He refused to speak to me the following morning though I tried 2 different times, ignored my calls. I moved most of my things out that afternoon to which he said I moved out of the house behind his back. He now says I took a ring from him and moved out unexpectedly while he was at work. That is the whole story. He called to tell me that he changed the locks and I would not be allowed to come get my clothes (I had left all my hanging clothes and several other things I could fit). It got really ugly from there on-him screaming at me how I abandoned him, he was going to destroy my things, if he ever saw me again he would beat my ***.... I had to have a police escort to get the rest. I was afraid of exactly this, knowing that he would get angry and lose it unless I stayed with him just how he wanted.
Since then he has continued to go back and forth as usual. He sees it all as being about if I move back or not, saying he will not begin to work on anything concerning our relationship or his problems (including drinking) until I move back.
So what now? Should i talk to him/see him or not? I don't know how to support him and help him not feel abandoned without enabling him to continue without help?
I read both the books (awesome) but am not sure what to do. I am still scared to even mention anything concerning it to him. I was also disappointed to learn that couples counseling often is unsuccessful if the BP is not doing anything else. That would be the only thing i could imagine him actually going to.
2 slightly progressive points- he did say the worst pain of his life was growing up without a father (which he never really mentions) and he said he will no longer be taking pills b/c he loses control. Not sure if he is sticking to that. He is still drinking with no apparent plans to stop, he is trying to drink less which he has done before in the past after a drunken episode and then it just builds back up.
Advice? Should I give him the books?
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.