September 27, 2008


I felt as if I had written this list. This is exactly how I feel or felt in my last relationship. I was clearly abused, but I was made to believe it was all my fault and I was the abuser.

Yes, Chris, being blamed for the feelings a Borderline feels seems to be a basic pain that happens over and over when we're in a relationship with them.

But there's a grain of truth in what the Borderline says when they say what has happened is our fault.

We do something (stuck in traffic and so get home late from work, make a comment about wishing for something else for dinner, etc.) and it triggers a surge of emotional h*** inside the Borderline.

So from where they are, standing there with the internal chaos going on (fear that we're going to leave them, feeling rejected over our wish to eat something different -- and therefore, fear that we'll leave them) -- it's seems obvious to them that if we hadn't 'done what we did' -- they would't 'feel what they feel'.

Does that make sense? I know it's backwards, but the abuse of a Borderline towards us makes perfect sense to them.

And so there we are, in an abusive relationship, being punished by a Borderline, when all we did was come home late from work.

All we can do -- to save ourselves from the depression and future stress illnesses -- is to leave (if the Borderline we love can't 'see' that they're incorrect and be willing to go for help).

It's a terrible dilemma for us, because we sense that they're ill -- yet if we don't take care of ourselves, we many times end up sicker than they are.

Your comment refers to what sounds like a past relationship, so I hope you are healing a little more each day.

Lynn Melville

Holy moly...as I read this I can only think of how I'm being treated now...I gaveup everything and traveled hafway aroudn the world to be with my new wife...I thought it was what she needed to be happy aain...she'd lost her spark...It's the worst mistake of my life...now Im here, abandoned and she's taken all the money I have and threatens to jail me in this foreign country. When I try to talk to her, she's alway stalking abou "conditions:. My mind is blown...I'm about to give up on life altogether...I can't get home. I don't speak the language here...Ilost the greatest love of my life to homicide 8 years ago by a mad man that couldn't bear to see her wit another man...so he commited the ultimate in domestic violence...he murdered her...I need help

Oh, Don. I can't tell you how many times people I've coached have given up their livelihoods, careers and countries -- to be with a Borderline, only to discover the dark side of that disorder.

One of the big things I notice is your having had a very traumatic experience with a lover. Those kinds of happenings leave us emotionally very vulnerable to Borderlines. They frequently know how to offer us what we're so needing emotionaly, until we're hooked and commit to them. Then the mask slowly comes off.

My big question to you now is about how you might get some money to get home. Do you have family or friends back home who could loan you the money?


oh wow this list sounds so much like my ex girlfriend,A dear friend of mine suggested that I might have been abused but I never put much stock in it till I read this article.She might be a borderline but she also shows signs of a classic narcissist.I's just now that 2 years have passed that I can see her for what she really is,Thank you so much for this list and I look forward to reading more as I make progress in my recovery.

Hello, Lon -- Yes, abuse can be hard to recognize because it starts in such small ways, escalating over time.

And if we were raised by a parent who didn't treat us well (abuse again), we didn't know we were being abused.

So when someone treats us badly as an adult, it feels sort'a normal. It's not until it gets really bad that we begin to realize that things aren't right.

Glad to hear that you're progressing in your recovery from your narcissistic Borderline relationship.

You might try Co-Dependents Anonymous.

Going to those meetings was one of the best gifts I ever gave myself. It helped me see my part in the boomerang love dance, so I would have a chance of not choosing another partner who would hurt me again.

My God!! Thank you for posting this.

As I read this I was almost brought to tears. I am a man in that situation right now. The last 10 years of my marriage was echoed in this article.

Though we have been in counseling (and emotional abuse has not come up) I decide to research male emotional abuse today- ona hunch.

I know know why I feel the way I feel.. why I have been going through and what my wife is doing to me... what I have allowed.

I have to take a stand for my self esteem, pride, manhood, family..and my life. Whether she chooses to get help and walk beside me is her choice.

Thank you for your posting,
to explain to someone ( a professional ) of my experainces has ben hard becasuse the abuse is all verbal and mind games.
I have long since just accepted the abuse becasue I would lose my daughter if I left, but now shes's 5 and she has no defense to the same abuse I get, ( i can ignore, or leave. my daughter can't.
But the courts gave her physical cusotody becasue, she is a women, did not matter that sh left and was really homeless and had no way of supporting my daughter.
She came back.

Hello, Ray --

I understand what you mean -- how do we explain to another person the behavior of somone suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder when that person hasn't witnessed the Borderline behavior themselves? Since the behavior usually has no basis in reality, it's hard for others -- even professionals who haven't lived with a Borderline -- to really believe that the behavior happens. Bless you for staying to help your daughter. There were four children in my family, and my father stayed, even after the therapist told him to "run for his life". I believe that if he hadn't done that, and showered us with his hugs and love, we'd all be alcholics and drug addicts today. Do reach out for support from family and friends -- and give CoDependents Anonymous a try. They have an online web site that lists meetings. Co-DA was one of the best gifts I ever gave myself. I credit those loving members for holding my pieces together as I struggled to rise above abusive Borderline Personality behavior. You can do it, and your daughter will be forever grateful to you.

I found this site and another while searching the Internet for help to deal with my increasing depression, isolation, and nightmares. Reading what emotional abuse is and information on this site I have only now begun to see the extent of how abused I have been. I have always been a strong person. I feel like I am a weak broken shell of the man I once was. I never knew what BPD was but clearly see and feel the damage a high functioning person with this disorder can perpetrate on a loving and caring soul.

Hello, Dennis --

I can 'hear' your sadness in just reading your words. I'm so sorry you've been beaten down so far, but there is hope.

Number one, have you picked up my Boomerang Love book? It's available on my www.boomeranglove.com web site, where you can click on thru to Amazon's Kindle program if you want an ebook quickly.

I'm not being self-promoting, I just know from what readers have said that my book will validate all of your feelings of having been unfairly treated, tricked, misunderstood . . . and your love trampled on. You will feel validated, which is very important.

You say you're feeling isolated. After reading my book, I would hope you would be able to cast off the male feelings of shame over having been brow-beaten by a woman.

It's important that you get support by beginning to tell your close friends, your family, your pastor at your church, anyone you can trust, about what you've been experiencing. I think you'll be surprised at the people around you who've been watching from afar and have been concerned, but have said nothing to you.

If you have trouble talking, you might do what one of my coaching clients did -- hand my book to others and say that's what you've been living with.

Of course, talking with a therapist is always helpful, but if you can't afford that, another free option is Co-Dependents Anonymous.

The wonderful people in those rooms literally held my pieces together while I gained my strength back, after the last 'boomerang' leaving of my Borderline partner.

You can search the Internet for Co-Dependents Anonymous by zip code for meetings. They will list a contact person (by first name only, because the group is true to the 'anonymous' pledge).

Be sure to call the contact person, to check that the meeting is still current and to have someone to greet you when you arrive.

You'l find people there just like you, struggling to overcome abusive behavior. Since you say your Borderline partner is "high functioning", you'll possibly hear stories even worse than yours at those meetings.

There are many kind, loving, endlessly forgiving people like you . . . struggling to heal from the hurts from abuse, grieve the death of the love they 'thought' they had from their Borderline partner, and gain the strength to move on.

You can do it. Keep us posted.

Lynn Melville
Author, Breaking Free
from Boomerang Love

Day 2 into the marriage on our cruise from her..."I feel like you think that you made a mistake and are looking for a way out"

Hi, Mike --

Thanks for posting what seems to be the hallmark of the person suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder -- intense fear of abandonment.

I've had people tell me they saw it on the afternoon of their wedding reception, their wedding night, etc.

So that was your first red flag that something was wrong -- you just didn't know what it was.

I presume things went downhill from there. Would you like to tell us more?

This is a safe place to share. Most men don't talk about the abuse they're experiencing in their relationships, so hearing other men's stories is very helpful.

Lynn Melville
Author, Boomerang Love

I was in such a "Marriage" for 2 years,God this hits home still after being divorced for 16 years.I just couldn't take it anymore.She left and even after that she would call me while having sex with her "lover".All she done to me has ruined me.It was like she set in to completely destroy me and I didn't do anything but try my best,I'll never understand it.

Hello, Nick --

I'm glad you found my blog. You say you'll "never understand" how she could treat you the way she did.

The way I explain it to partners of Borderlines is that you were just the stand-in, the proxy, for the person/persons who originally hurt your Borderline partner.

They react to us in anger when things we do remind them of what was done to them by the original people, even though most of what they react to is imaginary.

One woman told me her husband raged at her that she was having an affair with the produce man at the grocery store, because she smiled at him over a head of lettuce.

So they feel justified in the punishment they give us. Sickeningly, they even enjoy watching us suffer, because in a twisted way, they're getting back at the original people who hurt them.

Have you read my Boomerang Love book? You might pick it up at www.boomeranglove.com or on Amazon in ebook form.

It will validate what happened to you and help you find peace with what you experirenced.

In response to Lynn responding to Ray, I grappled with not leaving for the kids as well.
I also put up with the list of 101 things. They all ring true.

It wasn't until I found a therapist who put things into perspective that I could move forward. She knew exactly what I was dealing with. My family telling me to divorce her sure wasn't helping. I needed perspective.

The perspective was simple and true. I was miserable and would leave her when the kids were older anyway, since really the only reason I was staying was for the kids.

So why not leave her now and carve out a new life for myself while I was still young?

I am fighting hard for custody of my boys and I beleive should get 50/50 custody. She was fighting for primary custody, making false claims that the kids would not be safe with me.

Advice re divorcing a Borderine: expect a fight from them.

The fact is do you want your kids to think the way the Borderline treats you is OK? Do you want them to see you putting up with the list of 101 Things and seeing it as normal, possibly putting up with the same abuse when they get married because of it?

For me, boundaries were key, with the help of my therapist. I made the decision that losing her was less important than me being happy, and setting a good example for my kids. Strength and the resolution to go forward with the divorce comes from knowing you would be happier alone.

I am alone now and am thrilled. Over time, the kids will experience her selfishness, bullying, controlling and manipulative personality and will in all likelihood seek refuge with me.

In my situation, the boundaries and my verbalizing them when they were crossed was enough to let my wife know that the game was over, I was off the rollercoaster. She wanted the divorce, and I couldn't be happier, now that I am no longer living with her.

Sure she will try to create conflict while we try to resolve the divorce now, but having the break from her helps in keeping my cool during these times.

When I was living with it daily and walking on the eggshells daily, it was hard to think clearly.

I would add to the list:

#102 - Never addressing my concerns and instead using the opportunity to put me down for something I was unaware of or something that happened years ago that I had apologized for 100's of times. (I would go to her with a concern, and then would end up being the one apologizing. I would walk away wondering how my original concern never got addressed)

#103 - Reinventing the past (Borderlines think with emotions. As emotions change, so do their memories, since those memories are not based on logic, but emotion.)

There are many many more I could add but the absence of those two stand out for me.

I wish everyone dealing with a Borderline the strength to leave and the will to fight for shared custody of their kids.

I feel overwhelmed as I read that list, with soooo many points hitting home for me. I'm very sad to say that I'm stuck in the middle of my own similar 100, right now.

When he mentioned the one about ruining every trip...I smiled to myself, happy that I haven't imagined what my trips have been like with my 'mate'. When I've mentioned to my spouse about her spoiling every trip with her moods and ranting, she didn't 'remember' that and went and asked the kids for reinforcement of her point. Of course, the kids wisely agreed with her that the trips were nothing but great...or else! They know what happens when they 'cross' mom...all h*ll breaks loose, and they suffer the consequences.

Being lonely in the relationship...always being 'wrong'... are a couple more that come to mind.

For me, I think the worst problem, is feeling like there is no true communication, and no avenue to delve deeper than 'how's the coffee, today'....unless of course it's about me helping her, or understanding her, or caring about her....

This will sound wrong...but I feel like I've done most of the work of the relationship, and still do. Sometimes I feel more like a dad than a husband. I feel like I'm having to make up for her dad dropping the ball, all those many years ago. When do we get to be done trying to make up for the past (problems in her upbringing)?

When do we get to be done trying make up for what she calls 'mistakes' early on in our relationship, when we had some passion? How convenient it was to let the passion take it's course at that time...but NOW....I'm the bad guy for that. When will we ever be just the two of us (two adult children living in the home)? Will I ever be most important?

Sounds like some serious whining here, but it's part of the pain I deal with daily.

I should have left a long time ago, and did several times, but she would always come back with some positive sign of change or 'hearing me'. And so I would say to myself...maybe there IS hope after all.

You see, I don't believe in being a quitter....and that makes it so hard to leave. But it feels like I really need to. I'm a nice guy to eveyone else, but myself.

I long for the peace and quiet and order of having my own place, and being able to do things my way for a change....like have the baking spices in one spot and leave em there so I can find em if I want to bake something...(since you never do).

The one comment I read where the person was so happy to have left...ah....that sounds like how I would feel.

Wow....I could go on and on....it's embarrasing and cathartic at the same time...

I'll leave you with this for now...one of my first red flags was shortly after being married, my spouse was trying to tell me how to dry off after a shower! It makes me laugh to think of it now...but it sort of is represtative of the attitude coming at me at my house.

Another thing...it gets very boring listening to the latest (today's) physical problem you are experiencing. You always have something bothering you.

It's very boring that our life together has been all about 'your' life. If there's anything about my life, I'm experiencing that on my own....and maybe that's best since you can be so embarrassing with your 'acting out' in front of my friends.

But, then, is this really a marriage? ...or is it a convenient arrangement, at least for you?

Before I die, I would really like to be in one nice relationship, where it's enjoyable and mutual.

I'll grant you that I'm responsible for my previous choices...and now I need to be responsible for my current choices. Can I move on and forgive myself?


This is the first time I have looked up something like this website. Many of the items on this list ring true to me. This post, though from 4 years ago, is timeless.

I have been married for 10 years and am 38 years old. My wife and I have 3 children. The kids are wonderful; I love them with all of my being.

My wife continues to pick fights with me no matter what I do to try to smooth things over. But what is going on is much more than her picking fights with me. It's the many things on this list.

On on hand, I cannot stand her because all of the emotional abuse that is continually thrust upon me, day in and day out.

On the other, life without her would mean great upheaval - religiously, professionally, personally, with family - and I cannot figure out what to do. I want to leave but I will not, under any circumstances, be the person who makes the move that begins the unraveling of our children's collective well-being.

I cannot stand her. She is aggressive in the nicest of ways. She makes up things that I didn't say and portrays me as the emotionally abusive one.

Our family and friends are not aware of this situation. Our eldest has seen us fight on two occasions. Ideally, I would like to leave with my kids and just cut all ties.

On the other hand, I know that they need their mother, as she seems like a good mother to them. (Is this just a facade that is waiting for the right time to explode?) I have a job and could take care of my kids on my own, but I know she will fight for custody and for child support.

I just don't know what to do and feel completely lost. I am happy that I found this forum so that I could at least have a virtual voice. Thank you.

after reading this article, I have been facing this for 2 years now he is a boyfriend. Everything that was written correlated to what I have been going thru. However, I am a woman, and I have heard of this in several men. I have dated men that came from this same type of abuse that I am facing as well. I am seeking help with a counselor, but some days it gets so bad that I just want to run away. The hurt and the frustration of doing everything you know to do and they are still not happy, and they refuse to meet some of the needs you have. And when they do we grasp for it and hang on to it thinking that maybe next time it will be different. But it isn't.

In my situation, it becomes my fault that I'm trying to repair and do everything I know to do and I feel slapped in the face over and over again. Feeling like he's my father instead of lover or partner. I know men get this just as much as us women, and it is sad that I look at these women and think to myself, you have a good man. I would give anything to have a man like that. My sister, does this to her husband and it sickens me. I wish all the best to each of you. You are the real men out there. It is because we care, and have kids and want what is best for them. Thank you for this article. You have put into words what I have been trying to express. :)

I'm laying alone in bed thinking about many of the awful things my wife has said and done over the course of our relationship (we sleep in separate bedrooms). We've been together for 31 years, and I recently realized how long I have endured her abuse. Don't get me wrong...I'm no saint...but I am a good person...and deep down, I would prefer to believe my wife is a good person. I see how she treats others. I see the compassion she has for animals, and I envy them. I have been researching Borderline Personality Disorder, and she has most of the classic symptoms, but some of the definitions don't fit.

Anyway, your "100" list made me cry. I feel trapped and alone. The kids have flown the coop, and we'll soon own our home, and I'm working hard to make it as presentable as possible so we can sell it (She micro-manages every step I take concerning the remodel). She's the "bread-winner", and when the children were born, I gave up my career and stayed home to care for them. They're great people, and both see that mom's a little nuts. I guess I need to think about the best path I will take (when the house is sold), and choose whether I want to fly solo again...it's scary. I guess I need to convince myself that being alone with no money is better than feeling alone in an emotionally abusive relationship. Just trying to keep my chin up. Thx for the info.

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