Borderline Personality and Abuse

A closeup of a strong defiant woman's face.

Borderline Personality and abuse

borderline personality disorder (BPD) is highly associated with the verbal abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse, and/or domestic violence often suffered by those who are non borderline. The propensity for abusiveness in those with BPD is instigated by the narcissistic injury that is at the heart of the core wound of abandonment

Those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or those with BPD who may not even know they have it, are more likely than the general population to be verbally, emotionally/psychologically, physically abusive. But what is behind the connection between Borderline Personality and abuse?

The reality of this is such because borderlines lack a known consistent self and they struggle with abandonment fears and abandonment depression that stem directly from a primal core wound of abandonment that arrests their emotional and psychological development in the very first few months of life.

This arrested development impacts most, if not all, areas of relating and leaves borderlines unable to interact in age-appropriate healthy ways. Ways of relating that unfold in the present and that aren’t layered with deep intra-psychic pain – pain that is unresolved.

The roots of abuse in BPD, particularly in intimate significant other relationships with Non Borderlines have their genesis in the borderline’s re-living of this deep intra-psychic pain. Pain that is triggered through attempts to be emotionally intimate with someone else. The intimacy that non-personality-disordered people enjoy is stressful and overwhelming to the borderline. It enlivens the borderline’s worst nightmare – the unresolved pain of the core wound of abandonment. It arouses all the maladaptive defenses of the borderline because he/she re-experiences the terror and panic of either his/her past experience of feeling annihilated or engulfed and/or his/her fear of being annihilated or engulfed, often alternately, when trying to be close to someone one else.

borderline personality and abuse Borderline Personality and Abuse

Borderline Personality and Abuse

This sets up an approach-avoidance conflict, a “get-away-closer” style of trying to relate that has its roots in the “I hate-you-don’t-leave-me” struggle of the borderline who experiences any withdrawal of intense, close, (albeit also threatening) intimacy, attachment or bond as a threat to his or her safety at best, and entire existence (psychologically) at worst. Add to this that when there is any distancing or break in the intensity and symbiotic-like closeness (if in fact closeness is ultimately achieved) the borderline then fears, and/or feels abandoned.

This conflict of fearing or re-experiencing annihilation versus engulfment and then the re-experiencing of the fear of or actual feelings of abandonment that the borderline experiences, often subconsciously, in trying to be in relationship to other, causes the borderline to be triggered back to his/her original core wound of abandonment feelings in such a way as to trigger the primal feelings of helplessness, loss of control, needs equaling survival, thwarted needs being akin with the death of the lost self. This whirlwind of unregulated emotion meeting with fear and distrust generates the original feelings of rage that this core wound of abandonment aroused in the first place.

The core wound of abandonment, when one is very young and experiences it, is the experience of psychological death. It is intense and arouses the borderline to fight for survival while they experience the sheer terror of feeling like they might actually just die or be killed by what they are feeling. This heightened state of arousal is both psychological and biological – it is physiological. It is a strong drive to survive and rage is at its core. Rage is the most primal feeling generated and the most protective defense that a young infant can muster to try to have the caregiver return to once again provide some sense of being for the infant.

Feelings and reactions of rage are experienced by those who go on to develop BPD so early in life that they precede cognitive and verbal development. This is what makes borderline rage so primal, so intense, and in the case of the borderline so raw and unmanageable in terms of often triggered dysregulated emotion of those with BPD.

It is pain that has long-since been dissociated from and abandoned by the borderline. This abandoned pain of BPD is the ignition switch that needs only the hint or flicker of an emotional flame to ignite a combustible, all-too-often abusive rage like no other.

This is what the borderline regresses to. When the borderline is in a regressed and to varying degrees dissociated experience, the non borderline partner is experienced by the borderline as that withdrawing or abandoning caretaker from the past that was needed for literal physical and psychological survival.

borderline personality and abuse Borderline Personality and Abuse

Borderline Personality and Abuse

When the non borderline partner, living, On The Other Side of BPD isn’t focusing 100% of his or her attention on the borderline (especially if you have actually attained closeness) and there is any experienced or even perceived break in the symbiotic connection that enables the borderline to feel somewhat secure (like the non having to attend to a child, or go to the washroom or any simple thing) – even when stressed by the closeness – and already beginning to cycle to the fear of the loss of it – the borderline will often react from this cesspool of ever-churning rage which is the protection for the very vulnerable and young abandoned pain of the borderline. This ends in a lashing out by the borderline personality, abuse is often the end result.

All rage is not expressed the same way. All borderlines do not abuse in the same ways. As you will see in my next article, there are many different forms that the abuse generated by this narcissistic woundedness takes. Some borderlines rage, literally, they scream and yell and throw things or hit people. While other borderlines (known as quiet or “acting in” borderlines) may rage in such passive-aggressive ways that the non borderline might not realize that the borderline is raging.

This inherent free-floating, always-at-the-ready rage, if you will, is the root source of a lot of the varying types and styles of abuse that non borderlines are bombarded with. It can often be sudden and seem to come out of nowhere because the source of it is deep inside the psyche of the borderline.

Borderlines lack a known self. They have not been able to emotionally or psychologically mature beyond a very early stage of emotional developmental arrest. An emotional/psychological arrest that takes place when the developing authentic self essentially experiences a death, is lost to the borderline, and is then supplanted by the false self.

Life, for those with BPD, is to say the least, one devastatingly painful experience of trying to live and exist in the absence of a known self in the fragmented pieces of the blurred experience of the here and now enmeshed with the past. It is one perpetual separation-individuation crisis void of the big picture until and unless it can be resolved.

Borderlines do not learn how to cope with the feelings that they have in the here and now, that trigger past intense unresolved feelings of the actual loss of the psychological self.

Borderlines lack the ability to hold in any consistent or congruent way object constancy. They experience relatedness as being as fragile as out of sight out of mind. A bond that a non borderline feels exists between him/herself and the borderline whether he/she is in the presence of the borderline or not is not something that the borderline can psychologically remember, trust, or believe. Object constancy or any connectedness or attachment that could be defined as “secure” is fleeting for the borderline who has not been able to develop object constancy.

The fleeting nature of this inability on the part of those with BPD to hold object constancy in any consistent or congruent way leaves those with BPD in a very painful place – literally between a rock and a hard place in what is the classic relational no-win of an untreated person with BPD.

This loss of the authentic psychological self is re-experienced over and over again and the fear of it and the fear of the pain of it grows each and every time one is triggered back to it. This builds both anger and a continually proliferating inability to cope with it in any constructive way. Anything short of intense symbiotic connection that is uninterrupted will once again send the borderline cycling back around the re-experiencing of everything associated with the core wound of abandonment.

As the borderline cycles back to this enraging and vulnerable – which isn’t tolerable – place of abandonment depression (Masterson) and abandonment trauma so too begins the apex of the likelihood of abuse.

Along with abuse of all sorts, the result of this cycle is often a punishing talionic impulse acted on in the heat of the triggered-dissociated moment by the borderline in what are known as repetition compulsions.

Borderline Personality and Abuse Awareness

Most borderlines, until and unless they have substantial and successful therapy are not consciously aware of what I am describing here. Some are totally oblivious to their behaviour. Some see their behaviour as a means to an end and take little to no responsibility for it or any of its consequences. Others understand that they have acted poorly again, pissed someone off, have once again made real the threat of and/or fear abandonment and loss, but they do not understand why they’ve done it. Similarly they have no clue how to stop it. Others project it out onto the non borderline and think that everything that has come from them was actually done to them by the non borderline.

This can be a crazy-making experience for the non borderline. This is of little consolation to the non borderline, however. This does not, at all, justify the abuse. However, clearly I write about this here to say that if a borderline is not getting treatment, and I mean for real, not just going through the motions type of treatment, there is no logical reason to even begin to believe that the abuse that any borderline in your life is perpetrating upon you will stop.

The very thing that you most want from your borderline (or wanted if you’ve left the relationship) in terms of what it means to have a relationship and to relate was not ever even on the table because the borderline is not an emotionally/psychologically mature being.

The borderline is still a very wounded and very young child, emotionally, in terms of the ability or understanding of how to actually relate to others. This is the case because what borderlines do is not relate to others for who they are but as an extension of the borderline – and more to the point – as an extension of the parent (usually mother) that most failed them or by whom the borderline most feels abandoned, for whatever reason(s).

The borderline has no idea who he/she really is. He/she often feels as if he/she does not exist if the borderline does not have an other to project all of his/her feelings out onto and an other from whom they then require the mirroring back of an identity of what is a painful lack of known self.

Borderline Personality and Abuse “The Dance”

In her book, The Narcissistic/Borderline Couple, Joan Lachkar, Ph.D., writes, “For the borderline the focus is primarily on bonding and attachment issues. Borderlines often form addictive love relationships (including normal dependency), they form parasitic relationships, and project their needs in hostile, threatening ways. Because their defenses and demands are excessive, borderlines tend to remain in the dance, rarely achieving their aims.”

The dance that Lachkar refers to, in my past, for me, as I look back now many years into recovery, when I was borderline, was one of seeking to re-invent, re-experience, re-do, the ruptured relationship with my mother that caused me to lose my authentic self to the defensive and manipulative abusive narcissistic defenses of the borderline false self in such a way that would once and for all satiate the developmental needs arrested at the time of my core wound of abandonment and teach me how to actually bond without feeling like it would kill me.

The dance, for me, was one of seeking to recreate and recapture that symbiotic relationship that I never had the chance to have with my mother, through others, in an end-justifies-the-means kind of way, that was, at times, very abusive to others in my life, in the past, on my part.

That dance was a complicated punishing and unforgiving dance of codependency through which I sought to resolve what for years seemed like the unresolvable woundedness that was the source of my rage and the abuse that I perpetrated against others in the name of trying to actually be psychologically born which is necessary in order to get on and stay on the road to recovery.

Most, if not all borderlines, have, as a result of this core wound of abandonment, a well-developed defense mechanism of narcissism and also have varying degrees of narcissistic injury that manifests in the and through the false self.

This narcissistic injury or wound and its subsequent usage as a defense mechanism along with the narcissism seen in the false self of those with BPD is not to be lumped together with narcissistic personality disorder – they are not one in the same at all.

Borderlines who live from a false self and who do not have an active and keen awareness of their own core wound of abandonment and their abandoned pain are not capable of age-appropriate adult intimacy or relating.

It is from the core of this emotional dysfunction that borderlines end up abusing either themselves, others, or both. Non borderlines, are often on the receiving end of many types of abuse.

The very nature of borderline relating makes for a dysfunctional and toxic relational style that non borderlines will benefit greatly from learning more about so that they can deepen their understanding of BPD and also take care of themselves. Many non borderlines come to realize that they want and/or need to Break Free from the puzzling and painful maze that is borderline relating. Relating that is more often than not abusive.

If you are a non borderline and you are being abused by someone with BPD, you need tp take care of yourself. It won’t do you or the borderline any good to deny or excuse his or her abuse and think that having a personality disorder justifies it in any way – it does not. You cannot control what a person with BPD does, but, you can make choices about what you will and what you will not live with. Once you make that choice you need to identify and make known boundaries that are firmly explained and firmly enforced consistently.

Many non borderlines do not realize that the sane choice for them, if the borderline in their lives is not getting help and/or cannot take personal responsibility and stop and change any and all abusive behaviour and/or relating, is to leave, break free and take care of themselves.

© A.J. Mahari 2007

A.J. Mahari lives in Ontario, Canada. She is an Author, Speaker, Counselor, Life Coach, BPD/Loved Ones Coach, NPD/Loved Ones Coach, Mental Health Coach, and Self-Improvement Coach. She has been described by many as an insightful and astute student of life’s ups and downs. A.J. is a Mental Health Professional. A.J. writes from her own life experience, education and over 20 years of experience working with clients with Personality Disorders or the Loved Ones of those with them. You can purchase any of A.J.'s 35+ Ebooks or Written and Narrated 45+ Audio Programs or work with her as a your Counselor or Life Coach. She is a sexual abuse survivor and recovered from Borderline Personality Disorder many years ago. She is also an adult living with (“high functioning”) Asperger's Syndrome.


  1. Anon

    March 30, 2016 at 3:51 am

    This is the most stigmatising, ignorant rubbish I have ever read. I have bpd. I am not abusive. stop making assumptions !

    • kolby

      April 18, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      My girlfriend has bpd and treats me like shit so yah it happens deal with it

      • Nick

        May 24, 2016 at 6:18 pm

        Hahahaha proving you are not abusive by BEING ABUSIVE. Classic borderline.

        • Rhetoricalmuse

          July 23, 2016 at 3:21 pm

          Nick, so true.

          I had the same thing on YouTube

      • Clark Clark

        October 23, 2016 at 11:31 pm

        yes, deal with it….at your own peril.

    • Dave

      May 26, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      Wrong! I am married to a bpd and it is exactly what happens.

      • Clark Clark

        October 23, 2016 at 11:30 pm

        I have dated a BPD for 5 years. If you are not aware of the truth behind this, you are not experiencing BPD. This article articulates the cycles clearly; They are real and dangerous to the health of the bpd and the non. Dangerous to the point of physical illness or death.

      • John Zawoiski

        January 28, 2017 at 11:35 am

        My BPD wife just tore apart our family after having everything a woman could want. They are incapable or real intimacy.

        • Eric

          May 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm

          As did my wife of 19 years… This is an excellent article to explain things.

    • Patricia

      January 4, 2017 at 12:30 am

      This article describes an personal experience with a BPD and states that not all BPD’s abuse in the same way. I have a relative with BPD. Every encounter with her fills me with anxiety. Before we even meet I go through a series of emails inviting me to meet, I agree, then nothing, then another request and agreement from me and this can go on over months and eventually we’ll either meet, or she’ll accuse me of not responding to her request. Before we meet she’ll harass me for not picking up my phone quickly enough when she calls to tell me she’s on her way, when she arrives, she’ll get angry and call me ‘slow’ because it takes me 2 minutes to come down 3 flights of stairs to open the door. Or after arranging to meet at a restaurant where I’m waiting for her, she’ll call to tell me she’s waiting at my home because the parking was too difficult at the restaurant and then say, she’s not hungry and just wants to go for a drive. Her most insidious behaviour is driving a wedge between her sisters. She’ll spend months communicating with both telling both, that she doesn’t communicate with the other, meantime bulling each of them into disliking the other and digging out any resentment they may have towards each other until it ends with one of them blowing up and having a big argument with the other. She then goes back to the one on the receiving end of the argument to commiserate and telling that one how wicked the other is. Believe me, walking on egg shells doesn’t even cover it, more like walking around grenades. Our last encounter, I’d had enough. I’d invited her to join me and my friends for lunch. She sat down and immediately said to me “I don’t want to see your face today” so I said to her, ‘that’s easily solved, you can leave, this is my lunch with my friends, you are my guest and if you don’t want to see me, go home” That shut her up, but believe me it never ends, I have distanced her, won’t meet her with anyone else, because the attention has to be on her at all times and to achieve that end, she’ll belittle me or talk over me. I don’t invite her to my home because she’ll find fault with my housekeeping, the quality of my food or wine. I meet her about once every 18 months, in a restaurant and if she doesn’t want to eat, that’s fine, she can drink. I won’t introduce her to friends anymore because she tries to drive a wedge, so we’re left with rare meetings and always in public places and I am feeling increasingly that I don’t even want to do that because the lead up to a meeting is so tiring and anxiety provoking. I’ve spent years trying to bond with her and realise it will never happen and I don’t want to put myself through this level of anxiety, and anger, for anyone.

    • Gloria Aquino

      February 19, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      Maybe you’re the exception, but yes, many people with BDP are abusive, manipulative, self-centered, arrogant, reckless, hateful, vengeful, and more. My ex-boyfriend has exhibited all the BDP traits. It helps to read other sources and educate yourself, you could be in denial. You sound angry – may be your wounds have been ignited or you seek attention. I could be wrong – so could you. Cheers.

      • Gloria Aquino

        February 19, 2017 at 12:11 pm

        Spot on A.J., thank you.

    • Bill

      February 23, 2017 at 10:31 am

      You sound like my wife when she’s screaming “I’m not angry”…

    • Rob Roy

      April 6, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      You’ve abused the writer and tried to silence the writer with your abusive and abrasive approach, in an attempt to devalue an excellent resource for those who’ve suffered horrendously from a bpd loved one or former loved one and in so doing have aimed to devalue the said writer’s person and ability yet you’ve failed miserably!

    • MoMo

      May 21, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      I am recently diagnosed with bpd, my husband has said for years that I have it. One of the many hard parts of this disorder is to see and admit our abusiveness. I want to blame it on my husband for calling me hurtful names and getting angry at me, not taking the responsibility myself. He doesn’t want to be around me any more or talk to me. So my issues with abandonment are becoming a reality because of me. I’m in a really rough place right now, trying to deal with my bpd and keep hope of saving my demolished marriage, and not do self harm. This is real and its hard but I’m gonna take it one step at a time and have faith in God. Only He knows what tomorrow will bring.

  2. Sean Bennick

    March 30, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    There are no assumptions being made, this is the reality being faced by many family members of loved ones with BDP that go untreated. I’m glad that you aren’t abusive, and there are many with BPD that aren’t. This article was written to educate and advise those that are and those that are dealing with loved ones who have BPD and aren’t being treated or are being undertreated.

    The piece is not meant to be stigmatizing, in fact the author, AJ Mahari has herself recovered from BPD and writes extensively on the subject. I stand behind her fully, and I stand behind the article. If you’d like to present an opposing viewpoint, please feel free to present me with an article and I’ll consider publishing it.

    • Ivan

      May 24, 2016 at 8:45 am

      Hello Sean. I have written an article that, although is not an opposing viewpoint, is written from the other perspective as the husband of a BP wife. We have an increasingly successful relationship, stemming from a great deal of hard work, so what I have to say is written from personal experience, like AJ Majari, but I am not a mental health professional. I think that what I write would be valuable because, unlike many husbands who are desperately searching the web for answers to their chaotic relationships, I am well past the anger and desperation and may be a voice of reason when these poor men are mired in confusion, essentially lacking the ability to reason.
      I do understand why Anon is upset. Although this article is very fair and insightful, so much of what you find on the Internet on the topic of BPD is stigmatizing, judgmental, and, frankly, downright verbally abusive against those who suffer from BPD. I would simply like to offer an alternative way to view those with BPD, that would prove helpful for those who have BPD as well as their mates.
      So, if you are interested, would you please let me know the proper method for submitting an article. Thank you for reading.

      • Cortez

        December 18, 2016 at 6:51 am

        Hi Ivan,

        Was your article ever published here or anywhere else? Is your relationship still improving?

  3. Jason Draper

    April 9, 2016 at 10:52 am

    This is one of the most insightful articles regarding BPD and a Non BPD relationship. I’ve been married to BPD woman for 22 years and this article describes the pain and suffering that Ivd seen my wife go through. The more I tried to love, protect and be the person that I thought she wNted me to be was never enough and triggered her pull/push behavior. Ivd finally got the courage to file for divorce but I worry about her wellbeing and survival. I love her so much.

  4. Victor brown

    April 12, 2016 at 8:11 am

    this article i need to help me find someone to help and understand my children…i don’t know where to start…i need to help my children daughter age 5 son age 10….3 and a half years ago… my son reported my ex his mother dragged him down stairs and beat him…school filed dcyf report and said he had been crying i don’t want to go home for 3 weeks.. he is diagnosed autistic because testing scores are all over the place so high and low they don’t make sense,,,daughter diagnosed with anxiety…recently got a ptsd diagnosis for son….

    First some facts it wasn’t a relationship i was living in Costa Rica and contraception was tampered with.. I’ve learned i am an empath and was targeted…then being male i thought i could fix things.. then the frog in the water happened and i was living for moments when i wasn’t being abused.. i convinced myself the abuse was just against me not the children.. i was separated for friends and family …thru support groups and reading you know all the classic story how it happens…
    My sons beating got intense because starting school after a month they said he couldn’t ride the bus he had to ride the small handicap bus… Thats when things went ballistic….a month after the school reported the first incident to dcyf.. nothing was done nobody contacted…. then a month later i was beaten again b ex but she did it in front of son who told school and they filed another report .. then dcyf started to set up interviews… then ex tried to kidnap children back to costa rica…. then 5 days of court were i learned there is no perjury in family court… her lies were so blatant and easily proven that i was given placement with final say.. but they gave her unsupervised visitation and the abuse just continued.. i got children and myself immediately into therapy children have received in home therapy 20 hours a week each child for 2 years.. it took me a year to get it….the in home therapists have filed constant dcyf reports finally the children pediatrician wrote a letter an she has had supervised visitations for 5 months now….in those five months my son has gone from 25 incidents a ay of self abuse and 15 incidents a day negative self statements and several crying incidents…. with in a few weeks he went to 0 maybe 1 or 2 small incidents that he recovered quickly from…..
    The only help like in home workers and therapists seem to be what have have learned is they are Behaviorists….I can’t find a single person to talk to about abuse/ BPD….
    ….I was told since day one that all i can do is the best i can when children are with me and document document document.. I have done this and can’t get anybody to look at it or discuss it…If i try to talk about abuse/BPD they instantly stop me and start with they are just children and they just need rules and praise and ignore etc etc..
    Two books i have found that i believe opened my eyes are….Gentiling by William Krill and Just Like his Father by Liane J. Leedom……along with many support groups online I’ve learned about what happened… projection circular conversation ,passive aggressive, gas lighting, crazy making,,not to mention the sleep deprivation and bathroom abuse…
    This is difficult because i am the male… and it wasn’t a relationship love gone wrong trophy child thing…
    If i tell the stories of how life was when the ex was here.. i now know that nobody can hear them without thinking there must be something wrong with me also…
    If i mention any help or concern about my children displaying abusive BDP behavior i am chastised…
    I am in Rhode Island USA….for 3 years i have video or audio recorded every thing possible nobody will look at it…we just get throw in court and given dates a few months away then new incidents come up and were given dates few months away etc etc…
    The ex/mother still has nightly phone calls .. were she love bombs and infantizes to unnatural extents…
    The children have refused to go with her for 3 years.. i was forced to drop them at family court because of their violent refusal.. till pediatrician look at video and the physical effects it was having on my daughter…
    Its a story i know can’t be told and believed.. i have mountains of paperwork from school and therapists and nuero psych testing and video and reports from in home therapists… court transcripts… every insane text from 6 months before attempted kidnapping…
    How can i help the children.. how can i find a person to discuss abuse/BDP or since I’m not a professional it may be narc or sociopath or whatever kind of emotional abuse…
    my son is 10 so maybe soon someone will begin to pay attention but there is no-one willing to discuss anything about a 5 year old… I remember reading about a Dr Washburn who was adapting adult test for children..

    Any way i can tell when i am triggered with the feeling i am being abused by the children in the same way the ex/mother abused me…
    And i feel helpless and i feel i am made to feel bad when i try to discuss it….
    Thank you so much….if your ever interested in hearing about or seeing evidence of the unbelievable extent of abuse we endure i would be happy to share.. Thank you…..

    • Ivan

      May 24, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Call Department of Children, Youth and Families (Statewide toll-free 24-hour/7-day-a-week hotline: 1-800-RI-CHILD/1-800-742-4453) or your local police department if you haven’t already done so.
      This will take the situation out of civil/family court and put it in criminal investigation. If she is guilty of abuse, she will be removed from the picture as the mandatory prison sentence is substantial. Children that younge have a fairly decent chance of recovery with the negative source removed and really good therapy.
      Word of caution: make sure you have real proof… Good proof, that she is the source of the abuse, otherwise, things could get a lot worse. Skip the police and call DCYF (number above) to discuss your fears and proof if you are not confident your proof is solid, they sometimes have their own ways of gathering additional proof.
      Here is the Rhode Island statute defining child abuse:
      Code Section40-11-1, et seq.
      What Constitutes Abuse
      Child whose physical or mental health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm including excessive corporal punishment, sexual abuse/exploitation, neglect, or abandonment

  5. Dr Richard Hamling, LMHC

    April 18, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    As a psychotherapist of more than forty years, this essay was one of the best written for the public and novice clinicians. The notion of stigma misses the point. It is only through true understanding that one can evolve to a stance of compassion, for self and other. When in training I recall a remark; “what we don’t know about ourselves can hurt ourselves and others”. This is true for therapists and patients alike.

  6. Harry

    July 5, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Ivan can you share your article that you wrote please. I think this is the most clear and well written article for what I have experienced at times with my partner. There are so many positive things, but when things get bad this sounds almost exactly like the situation that unfolds. Congratulations for those who are undergoing treatment and managing things better and to those that have been able to work out their relationships with hard work. It is hard and I wish my relationship with my girlfriend was working, but at this time it does not look promising. All the best to everyone. One love

  7. Cat

    July 9, 2016 at 1:17 am

    Leaving someone with bpd sounds like it would only add to the problem. How can you expect them to take responsibility for their actions when in the midst of this disorder. I’m not saying abuse it right but some people just can’t get help. Me for example. I need help. I have no money. No insurance. I’m a student and my entire family doesn’t believe I have bpd but when I learned of this disorder in college I nearly had ano attack. What I felt had a name. I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t all the horrible things my mother said I was. I had a problem. And I tried so hard for years to be perfect and saintly. But everything I did, my emotionall reactions were extreme. Suicide was always the only way out if everything and I was bad because I had extreme emotionalike issues. My mother and step father for years made me feel completely horrible about my eating disorder. I was bulimic and all they said was I was disgusting. Horrible. Sick. Vile. Why did I do it they asked. Everyone I grew up with told me I was fat. Friends boyfriends. I was ugly. Then I turn 13 get into alcohol and drugs and hey raped. And my.raped was also my fault. I was a whore a slut. I found a boyfriend. He cheated on me. Got me pregnant then left me. I lost the child. I have another boyfriend and he lied to me about previous partners. Gave me an std. Hit me when I got upset. Left me when I needed him. And I’ve never hit him until now. I hate that everyone has hurt me this way. I’ve done nothing in my life to deserve this! But I’m wrong. I’m abusive! Because I’m tired of feeling extremely horrible I have no one to go to. I’m completely alone. I don’t beat him but I say horrible things and apologize. I hate myself for being this way. No one cares about me in my life. And I just hate myself. And for this. Leave them. You have to just leave them. It’s better for the non borderline. It’s because of Non borderlines that I’m here today in this mess! But I deserve to be abandoned again!

  8. Cat

    July 9, 2016 at 1:22 am

    I hate myself for telling him the things I do, I never hit him after that one time I couldn’t take it anymore but it still haunts me. I hate myself for it. I want out of this life. I want a while new life.
    I’m pathetic spilling my guts on an article. Excuse the spelling I was pretty emotional when I wrote this. Who am I kidding. I probably deserve all this .

  9. Rose

    September 4, 2016 at 8:32 am

    You can have a new life. You do NOT deserve this disorder. No one does. It’s a disorder. (You are not the disorder). See yourself as separate from the disorder. Not something you own. Get the help you need. Realizing there’s a problem is HUGE and the first step. Have faith that you CAN and WILL be free with the right guidance. It can start with determination and prayer to be guided in the right direction. God bless!

    • John

      April 12, 2017 at 10:01 am

      I disagree with your statement that “nobody deserves this disorder”. Sorry if I sound nasty but my ex deserved every bit of sadness she ever lives with from here on. After years of doing everything I could to try to make her happy being the nicest guy in the world, she ditched our home, me, me, our son, and basically is no mother or grandmother to her offspring from an earlier relationship. She deserves every bit of her BPD for never once trying to get help and destroying the future for myself and our kids.

  10. Joshua

    September 29, 2016 at 9:09 am

    I entered into an extramarital affair with a woman I didn’t know had BPD, though she won’t admit it & says it’s PTSD. It wasn’t a physical affair, more of just emotional infidelity but I didn’t see how I was being psychologically abused. The abuse wasn’t her fault though, & that’s what makes this disorder so difficult. She didn’t show signs for weeks, maybe a month, then I would catch glimpses, an hour here, a day there and then it just escalated. She would accuse me of things I wasn’t doing, go into total rage over seemingly normal events. She was frequently paranoid & angry, but when supplied with evidence to the contrary, would shift goal posts and make the anger be about something else. She became vindictive & would withhold affection or attention, silent treatment, rage, and employ impossible double standards, would lie to me without even realizing it or caring & when I’d bring it up just ignore it. I gave up all my friends b/c of her jealousy. It was a slow erosion of my autonomy, I couldn’t think straight when she was upset with me b/c I knew the reasons didn’t make any sense so.i would become desperate to prove that her accusations weren’t true. When we’d make up she went back to how she started which was so sweet, intelligent, logically consistent, we had the greatest connection I’ve ever felt in my life – she was absolutely stunning, gorgeous, hypnotic & alluring, hysterically funny, charming, we had everything in common, our interests, views, activities, our history – the sound of her voice was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. I would do anything for this woman. I wanted to spend eternity with her. Even now I long to watch her sleep, to kiss her feet, to love her. I’m totally infatuated. I love her so much, she’s all I think about everyday. But she started to have an episode that would last a day, then a weekend, and finally she wouldn’t sleep or eat, the justifications for her anger got more & more trivial and bizarre, then last weeks. BC of how we met she’d never trust me even though I was completely dedicated to her. There were things i did wrong but her response was totally over the top vs the incidents. She was very intelligent so she could make it seem like it all made sense at times. I was in complete & total denial. The experience destroyed my psyche & grip on reality. I started drinking heavily, I switched jobs BC I embarrassed myself hysterically crying in front of co workers. When I finally read about this disorder everything started making sense and there is so much I would have done differently but it was too late. I don’t think there is anything I couldve done tho,she’d eventually invent some reason to hate me. I’ve never been so emotionally destroyed & confused. Because i was married, this became her fall back default reason to tell me to blow off if & when I was able to walk her through her anger being inappropriate. This happened to me after working with mental illness professionally for a decade. I think that’s why I thought I could make it work with her. This is a serious disorder. I have extreme feelings of guilt bcz I love my wife and never want to hurt her, but this wonderful woman & this unfortunate disorder so took me down a road – I’ll never be the same. I’m now confused about my marriage. My heart will never recover. I have no one I can talk to. Even now I feel like I need her. If u or someone u know suffers from this, be honest with them. I exacerbated her symptoms by not understanding what this is, to the point we are both hurt badly.

  11. Drea

    November 13, 2016 at 7:06 am

    I was diagnosed with bpd back in 2014. I was finally at the point where my life was going in a positive direction and then I unfortunately met my now ex. He invited himself over to my parents house for the holidays. My family instantly felt sorry for him because of his difficult upbringing and he’s was a bit charming in the beginning. My parents constantly pushed him on me, my father insisted that we move in together and they loaded my things into my car to take to his apartment. There were several times I wanted to break up with him but because he lost his family I stayed and don’t know if I confused pity with love . He was verbally and at times physically abusive. Every time I tried to stand up for myself it seemed to make things worse. He would call me names and hit me but if I retaliated in any way there was something wrong with me or I was the abusive one. I was constantly getting blamed for making him upset and I believed it was my fault because of my disorder. He also would constantly keep pictures of other women on his phone and would message women and say that he has to do these things because I would not have sex with him when he wanted. I got upset and told him I would never stay with a guy who cheats on me, he said he has and would never cheat but would constantly go on dating sites and flirt with women online whenever he was upset with me. I decided to give him a taste of his own medicine and joined a dating site to show him how he was making me feel. He became extremely angry and started yelling He didn’t want me to talk to anyone and was very controlling, I was not allowed to have any male friends. He would try to force me to stand on a scale to check my weight. There were several times that he forced sexual acts on me. He is law enforcement and had a gun and he made sure I didn’t forget it. There were several times I had to lock him out of the apartment because I was afraid of him. I told him I would let him back in when he calmed down and he broke the window several times. He threatened to shoot into the apartment. He also threatened to shoot my dad. He did not have a car and would use my car and threaten to leave me in places. One time he left me stranded outside of work for three hours because he wanted to have fun and go hang out with his friends. He finally came to pick me up at midnight when I confronted him about his behavior he became defensive and said I just didn’t want him to have friends. The sad part is the only reason that I finally found enough strength to leave him was because I finally caught him cheating. I found another woman’s hairs on our bed and another woman’s underwear. I was upset but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t jumping to conclusions. I messaged a girl that he was constantly talking about and asked her how she knew him. She lied and said she was his cousin. I left him a few days later. As I was leaving he kept saying that he was going to kill him self. I kept checking on him and calling to make sure he was ok he kept trying to ask me to come back and I almost made that mistake. I knew the healthy thing to do would be to cut ties to him entirely. I sent one final message to the girl he cheated on me with saying that we have been together for two years I know about his family and thank you now I know the truth for sure. That night he called me saying that she was going to press charges and because of his position in law enforcement I would definitely get charged and if I came back he could help me. I was furious and told him that she could him and I never wanted to see him again. I changed my phone number and I haven’t heard from him for a few months. I’m still afraid of him and he said I would likely get a criminal record and never have the career I want. At first I wanted give up but I realize what he was doing was just another form of manipulation and he was likely lying again. It’s strange that I still care and hope he is ok after all that’s happened. After leaving him I am back in college and trying to be brave, I have been experiencing flashbacks and some days are easier than others. I’m focusing on myself and my education but I’m afraid to ever get in a relationship again.

    • Andy

      March 26, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Yes narcissists and pwAsPD can easily manipulate us borderlines…

  12. Kellye StanfieldKellye

    December 7, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    My BPD partner drives a truck…we have been in the midst of a break up in the last couple of weeks. We have 10 years together…thru the years I have always just swept her words and actions under the carpet due to BPD. Something has happened..she has always had concern and love for me no matter how bad the episode, she turns her phone off and will go up to 16 hours with no contact at all, let me know that she has another phone that I am not allowed to know the number…most of the time I do not even know what state she is accountability from her with money…she told me she left yesterday for Colorado then today said she was just then leaving the yard. Keep in mind thst the yard is less than an hour from here. So I confronted her with “You sent me a text yesterday that you are on your wsy to Colorado” I got …you do not own me, you will not control me, you are nothing but an abuser that wants to control everything about me..I accidentally found her GTalk account..I asked about..i became a cyber stalker that hacked her phone and put it in there..she has informed me that there will be no financial support from her..she is getting the car and she does not want to be with me anymore…then 12 hours later she will text something really nice and lull me in…I can say anything that can set her off and she turns the phone off and I won`t hear from her for hours…I love her more than life itself…I have stuck it out for 10 years (I am no saint ) I am not blaming everything on her…I guess my question is…if she is interested in someone..talking to someone..even cheating..she will never tell me the truth, will she..and I know that the new toy will win cause they do not know how it can be so they are fun, sexy and all of that…no baggage i guess…but I have always been her girl no matter how bad it has ever been…I do not know how to deal with the complete coldness, apathy, disregard and no evidence of love at all. She says that she is preserving her and It will be her terms or not at I see it thru…does this pass and can she just cut me off in her heart like that

  13. Shane

    January 14, 2017 at 1:02 am

    I can significantly relate to this article. I was with my BPD ex for 3 years off and on. It was the most baffling, bizarre, and emotionally destructive 3 years of my entire life.

    I knew practically immediately that something was off but I just couldn’t place what it was. She would behave in ways that would upset me, and so in turn, at first, I would attempt to mention how her actions made me feel in an attempt to communicate, and rather than talk these issues out like any other relationship I’d ever had, she would completely blow up on me and lash out and make me feel like I was the worst person on the planet. She would also then break up with me saying she just couldn’t deal with me. Naturally, I learned to never express my emotions or feelings on things because I feared the punishment and repercussions of doing so. She trained me to never have feelings or needs because I felt guilt for having them and I feared the consequences.

    She would break up with me in the most horrific, traumatic, and unexpected of ways. She would leave me basically curled up on the ground in the fetal position not feeling like I could go on. In those moments I felt like I would do anything to get her back. Literally anything. It was like a drug and I was in withdrawals. I felt like I needed her. After a week or two she would calm down and come back into my life. She would apologize and be so completely perfect and charming and level headed. She convinced me everytime that she was better now and that everything would be good this time around and she had learned from her mistakes and would never do that again. I loved her so much and felt so lost without her that I believed her. I would have done anything to get her back. So I would take her back hoping that this time would be different. Everything would be great for about 2 weeks or a month. Flawlessly great. But once again, out of nowhere, in that span of time, she would inevitably find another creative and traumatic way to break up with me and destroy me. A week or two later she would come back again. This same cycle went on for three years until I finally broke free of it.

    She used to tell me that I was the abusive one. When I would try to hold her accountable for her behaviors and tell her that they were unacceptable, she would tell ME to stop abusing HER. She then would in turn block my phone number from texts or calls. I actually started to believe that I was the abusive one somehow even though I knew that I couldn’t possibly be. I questioned my own sanity for so long. The only way I made it through were my friends who constantly reminded me that I was not crazy nor was I abusive. That I was the one who in fact was being abused.

    It took everything inside of me to finally break free from the hold this woman had on me and my life. She legitimately took three years of my life away from me that I cannot get back. I finally got my self esteem and confidence back but it took lots of work on my end. she still tries occasionally to reappear back into my life. I finally told her to go away and leave me alone a couple weeks ago. her response was to get a job where I have worked for 9 years. An insane move. But she can try all she wants. I will never go back to that.

    Just thought I would share my experience and know that I am still dealing with it all these years later. It was certainly emotionally traumatic and abusive to me and this article really touched home. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Bill

      February 21, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      Hi Shane,

      I feel your pain i going through very similar situation right now and I’m still not sure how I’m going to come out of that..
      I know that if she will come to my door call or email me i will take her.

      Right now she said no more coming back she hot full pawoer over me …any advice how to stop this madness..?
      I know its have to come within me….

    • Shawn

      May 30, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      Hi Shane

      Your story so damm similar to mine even though mine was same sex relationship, so similar 3 years also together, and a cycle of about 2 weeks of beimg nice / normal and then an excuse or problem created to cause a break up then to come back a few days or a week later, what i didn’t realise at the time was the breakups were caused so mine could go sleep with somebody else, mine used to end it with me, and then send me videoes of them having 3 sums with others, to say the damage thats been caused to me its been horrendous, the final ending was horrendous my ex ended up on heroin, i helped them get of a daily addiction to once in 5 days, once id last my life savings at this point, my partner engineered a breakup confessed to me they were done, how the whole relatiomship was just a game to them they had won, how they never cared nothing for me, how i was a fool to trust them, and how they had deliberately infected me with HIV on this I couldn’t take no more and approx 12 months ago i tried to end my life.. To this day I think killing myself a year ago would be better then how i live every day, the pain, the loneliness, the missing of what appeared to be my soul mate. All so hard to cope with 🙁

  14. Dave Dunn

    February 13, 2017 at 6:00 am

    BPD and this abandonedment thing is bull shit. BPD needs to be re-classified as an illness as strong and as delusional as schizophrenia.

    Brain scans show that BPD has some real structural issues. Schizophrenic s typically have delusions involving Jesus, god, Elvis, ETs, etc in the West and similarly culturally iconic delusionas im other parts of the world.

    The point is psychiatrists have made up the abandonment thing. Sure it is an emotional explanation, but it is invented by the malromed brain of BPD and as consistent an explanation as the malformed brains. It is not a question of chicken and egg, rather an obvious case where the egg produces the chicken.

    Bad brains produce BPD and the rest is made up by the bad brain.

    • Andy

      March 26, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      Then why is it demonstrably curable, you speak from an amateur positron as if you know more than the professionals! A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

      Oh and fyi the author is an ex BPD sufferer!

      Sincerely an awakened borderline doing his best to get help and change.

  15. Matt

    May 24, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Divorcing my wife of 3.5 years very shortly I love her and can’t stand her all in the same breath. Started out just like all the articles I have read recently and ended just like them too. I tried everything including a separation a few months back that our pastor thought might help. This only intensified her abandonment issues and says that is why she left recently. She made up stories to fit her distorted view of reality. I don’t want her back mainly because of all the broken promises she made and of course didn’t keep (might make a promise and it would last a day or two). These promises ranged from taking care of kids, to closeness and even just general things anyone else would do as a matter of daily chores. She might do the dishes, but then if someone didn’t leave a dish in the right spot all hell broke lose and that dish was the devil. Her sense of commitment was almost non existent whether it be with me, her kids, my kids or pretty much anyone else. The only reason at this point to take her back would be if she showed true remorse over a very long period of time and her actions followed her words over that period of time. But when I think about “that time” I come back to how long I have already tried with the situation always reverting and usually becoming worse I stop that thought immediately. I honestly believe BPD persons can be helped. However, when I am always hearing “it is someone elses fault” I don’t think she can be treated as she doesn’t believe she is wrong.

  16. Idsrvt2

    May 24, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks for writing this. It wasn’t until after my relationship that I determined my x possibly has BPD….he told me he suffers from depression and a personality disorder and was getting help. I had no clue what I was in for…. the push pull, break ups..being dumped so cruelly …the last time I said some really mean thing that I regret…I also contacted a family member as he threatened suicide…he saw that as harassment he threatened a restraining order then texted he wanted to go in peace what could he do…I ignored it for a day as previously he was ignoring me…and made the terrible mistake of sending what I thought was a nice kind msg…..a day later a cop knocks on my door and serves me.

    I filed one on him because to me he was now erratic..and not stable…on and off medications etc. so in court he tells his atty to tell me he only broke up due to low self esteem and feels I deserve better….my guess is his therapist told him that… I refused and resulted In two days In court….my x wanted less time…refused to agree …I was stunned…. I don’t know if it became about his guns or him just wanting to talk to me I dunno. He works around me daily….so I just don’t get that aspect of BPD….. I’m torn to pieces as I still love him and feel so horrible,… in a few months the temporary orders are up…. if he’s still in therapy I will see what happens….I just wish it was different

  17. KV6789

    June 8, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Thank you, recently due to my husband by chance having a discussion on an airplane with a Psychiatrist about my Mother whom stated within a few words that I needed to read “Understanding the Borderline Mother” by Christine Ann Lawson(which I recommend to ALL to read or listen to on audible) after listening and taking notes throughout I became more and more relaxed in the understanding and awareness that this is my Mother, she is a BPD Queen/Witch(the witch drifts in and out of most whether they are the “Waif”, “Hermit”, “Queen” etc..).
    This was beyond enlightening for me because it explains so much of why I spent so much time alone, away from her negativity and why I left home asap to maintain my own self and my positive outlook ..
    Sadly, she is even worse now, but she would argue with a room full of Psychiatrists in defense of any and all of her manipulative conniving hateful behaviors throughout the recent years towards me since being happily married. She can’t stand my husband, our children and my work, my Husband, our Children and love of work are all disrespected and spoken ill of, everything takes time away from her and this is best. She has smacked my Husband after she came between myself and my Son while I was washing dishes, he came to give me a hug and she pulled him away by sticking her arm between us and told him “she is mine, she was mine first” of course he teared up, he was 10, I told her to stop, my Husband saw him crying and asked her “what happened?” Wherein she replied with a smack and “you always have to be the center of attention…” which made no sense as he was sitting and talking to her boyfriend, but this is only one of literally thousands of situations that have been dutifully blocked.
    She has turned almost my whole family against me even my Sister, she manipulates, lies and conjures, degrades and after calls me with a smile only after to begin talking about all of them wherein I have to go, I don’t engage in such and I have to control the situation and know when she sounds like the witch is on her way into the room. It is extremely difficult and the sad part is that the rest of the family, her Dr., her neighbors and anyone else whom may have met me once (because she MUST have validation that she is Right!) but do not know me well enough believe her, it’s painful to know most can’t see nor would believe such perpetuations are delusions she has created to make me look like I’m not being the dutiful child and putting her needs first.
    Anyhow I could write here all day but I can attest to all I have read ine book that was recommended to me, I finished it yesterday and now I am looking for a therapist for myself to remove the residue of the past so I can truly be free from this, I cried when I finished it, I took a walk and for the first time I felt like “I Understand Why” I have certain fears that hold me back from being completely FREE of the past.
    She has done things that people just can’t believe but even those close to her that know she is behaving NOT like a Mother say nothing, they fear her wrath in their own life so they just keep it all calm, even my Father whom passed recently, they divorced when I was 17, she moved out with her new beau, who was a creep and years after when the sexual harassment issues became undeniable they divorced and she sweet talked her way back into my Fathers house where she stayed until she met her current boyfriend and moved out to be with him and since his childhood was not good, his Father wasn’t around and his Mother was a prostitute he does not know the difference between what is proper behavior and what is not and when she gets on a rampage he deals with the “situation”. Also being that he is the same age as my own Husband my guess is that most likely he has some issues of his own.
    I would love to connect with another whom is going through this and if anyone knows where or would like to from here I would love to, this is very difficult, rehashing what was left behind is not at all easy but it is not negotiable, it MUST be done so to be able to live the most fulfilled life possible for those who are the non-borderline otherwise we will suffer until our last breath.
    For those of you who have BPD I applaud you for recognizing it and for getting the help you need for yourself and even more so for your Children land Husband…. May God Bless You ALL and give you the clarity of mind and heart to see it through so all can live their best life possible!

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