May 19, 2013


I hate BPD. I wish there was far more public awareness. If I weren't a very successful software engineer, I wouldn't mind dedicating my life to warning young men and women to look out for the warning signs and how not to get abused or hoovered back in.

The things that gall me the most are 1) the jealousy when you spend time with the kids, 2) the false accusations of felonious acts (e.g. I was accused of kidnapping my stepson when he and I went to the store for 30 min last night [i think that's the last straw for me], and 3) the rampant psychological/emotional teardowns, constant rages, etc. and most of all (in my case), 4) never ever hearing an apology but getting raged at instead, whenever they think about how they acted.

<--- Veteran of living voluntarily with a BP for 5 yrs.

I agree with you, Theodore. Borderline Personality Disorder is a dreadful condition that causes so much pain and despair to lovers and families -- and to the Borderlines themselves!!

To others reading this, check out the post on this blog titled "101 Things I'm Tired Of" to see Borderine behaviors spelled out, A to Z.

Lynn, this is so on target. We need more people to see the tragedy of Borderline Personality Disorder. I would love to see your article get into the national news.

Mz. Melville, Thank you for your response.

Personality Disorders have been known about, at least abstractly, for several hundred years now, yet, public awareness in interpersonal relationships is just about as dim now as it was in the 1820s, from what I can see.

I wish we could inculcate in people the need to conduct a simplistic battery of questions to ascertain whether someone has one or more of the PDs, *BEFORE* we become romantically enmeshed.

After reading more than a dozen books on PDs, the best quote I can remember (paraphrased) is:

Two loved dogs are fighting each other to the death. Their owner asks a friend what he should do?

The friend responds: "You should shoot the least valuable dog."

In the end, a lot of us are bleeding hearts who literally live and breathe Galatians 5:22 (which I memorized as a kid):

The Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, and self-control.

Since I met my BP partner, I've greatly developed the qualities of patience, gentleness, long-suffering, and self-control, even when it's tough.

And I'm not a quitter! And I have **faith**, and I fricking love my partner and her kids.

I just have trouble realizing when it's KILLING ME and I admit, I internalize way more of her rage words than i should and I sometimes do not even realize I'm the "better dog".

When I do, I get out.

My hope in her getting better died, horribly, in 2011 but I stayed for the kids, but I don't even think i can do that any longer.

Psychologists like to say what I'm going through is Codependency, but that isn't the half of it. Robert Kennedy, Jr., and myself are of the same breed of loving folks who just end up suckered in by sick people and we are the fighters who never give up and refuse to capitulate.

I just wish every BP and their partners, children, and relatives peace and joy. That's what I have when I'm not being raged at.

You put such a smile on my face, Theodore. That quote re "The Most Valuable Dog" is from my Boomerang Love book. It really puts into perspective the qauestion of whether we as partners to unrecovering Borderlines will go down with their ship.

My way of describing the kind of man who senses the inward frailty of a Borderline woman and moves forward to help her is the White Knight kind'a guy.

And you're right -- White Knights are "fighters who never give up and refuse to capitulate," . . . sometimes to their own harm.

One man I coached said, "I had to alter my own code of honor to save my sanity."

Re people needing questions to ask prospective mates, check out the Red Flags section on my Boomerang Love web site -- over 80 behaviors that indicate the possible presence of a personality disorder.

People don't need to ask any questions -- they can just observe behavior.

I can appreciate the frustration Bobby Kennedy Jr. must have felt with trying to get a Borderline into treatment.

In my experience, they don't seem to be able to face their illness, as it's the only "self" they know.

My now ex-wife would fly into rages of verbal abuse for things that didn't make sense to me. I began to make a list of the things that would make her mad, so that I could avoid them. The list became endless.

She used promiscuous sex and the endless drama she created to distract herself from the internal torment that would cause her imagined physical pain. She would even take pills for the "pain" she was feeling.

The pain (mostly headaches) even sent her to the hospital. After many brain scans and pills for the pain, they would send her home.

This is my first time to provide input to any of these sites which I find so helpful, as I move forward in my recovery after being married to a Borderline for almost 20 years.

While I could write a library describing what my kids and I went through, the story of Mary Kennedy and her husband, Robert Kennedy, Jr., really stuck a chord with me and urged me to provide a quick thought here.

My wife didn't start beating me until after 17 years of marriage (as opposed to Bobby Kennedy, who got struck before marriage).

I have often found myself wishing my wife had started beating me much earlier, because those closed fists contacting my face were what jarred me into reality.

I remember with eternal clarity knowing (not thinking) that things had just gotten too weird, even for me. Years of emotional abuse had now come to me in a form I could easily understand.

I believed for decades that I did "make her" emotionally abuse me.

But I wasn't biting when I was told that I made her hit me.

I am leaving my Borderline partner tomorrow morning. I am flying to Boston, then taking a bus to Maine. Yes, my partner knows my family is in Maine and might follow.

However, I am a step ahead. I am leaving most of what I own in our home 6 states away. It's only stuff and I can always get more stuff.

Mostly, I am desiring to get therapy after this 5 year debacle. I am in the process of healing and have been for almost a year. However, I want more healing.

I endured physical assaults, so many verbal assaults I can't count them, always such intense rages, suicidal threats, homicidal/ suicidal threats, threats that are left unspoken/ open ended.

I figure is she kills herself I cannot stop her.

I did not cause this. I cannot control this. I cannot cure it.

I am out of here! I am remaining single for a few years at LEAST.

The "I'm sorry" because I feel guilty and " might look" bad stories are part of the past. I intend to keep them and this ex partner in the past.

I, too, feared nights, as did Bobby Kennedy, Jr. I also feared whenever she got too happy, silly or too playful. It always heralded a huge rage storm.

Full moons, PMS, hot flashes all made the rage storms that already occurred 100 times worse.

Having friends, being close to family, kids, cats, dogs, birds, the yard, a passing car -- ANYTHING made it all worse. It was always about my ex partner.

Mr. Bobby Kennedy, I understand from whence you came recently.

I have decided I shall only have healthy friends from here on out.

Borderline Personaloity Disorder is awful. I am sure it is for the one suffering and I know it was/ is for me, having to endure another's disorder..

Lynn Melville's books put me onto the road of recovery. Thank you so much for being here and writing those books.

The story about Mary Kennedy hit home and made me tear up. I didn't know she was suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, but it all makes sense after reading about her behaviors.

I identify with Robert Kennedy Jr., because I went through a lot of the same feelings of despair in my marriage as he did.

What it comes down to is the willingness to seek therapy in an individual who has Borderline Personality Disorder. If they don't recognize that they have a problem, there's nothing anyone can do to help them.

Believe me, I tried to help my ex-wife until it nearly killed me.

A greater awareness of this disorder is definitely needed in this country. If there was, it might lesson the stigma of having it.

Maybe Mary Kennedy would've been more inclined to seek therapy if it was more accepted in our society, like cancer or heart disease.

My mom has Borderline Personality Disorder. She REFUSES to seek help. No way will you catch her in a therapist's office or a psychiatrist's office. NO WAY. You would have to threaten her with life in prison or the death penalty to get her to seek help.

Why is it sooooo tough? Because she doesn't want to take any Personal Responsibility for her own actions, emotional upheaval, manipulative nature, pathological lying, brutal violence as it is always someone else's fault. She is NEVER to blame for what she says or does. She screams, "It is YOUR FAULT I am beating you." as she whips you with an electrical cord. Blame the victim.

My mom beat me, my siblings and my father. She beat all of us. My dad would run out of the house and down the street to get away from her. She has a wild temper.

My mom went on trial for hitting a neighbor and lost her trial. That happened in 1978. Why did she hit the neighbor who was not even in her own yard? He was next door on the front lawn. She heard him curse, it offended her, so she marched over and began to yell at him. He came into her yard to say, "What is wrong with you?" She hit him on the face. He sued her and won. She counter sued and she lost. She has held a grudge about this law suit ever since. She tracks that man via the Internet and reports on any news in his life she can find. The law suit was 34 years ago and and she is holding onto her grudge. She searches for a way to get back at him. Basically, she cyber stalks him looking for revenge. She is 65 years old and won't let it go. She is vindictive and mean.

My mom has the personality of a viper or a scorpion. She is that cuddly, that responsive, don't get close or you will be bitten or stung.

In public my mom wears what I refer to as her "Public Face." This is completely different from her private face. She wears it like a mask. It comes off at home. When the garage door closes the public mask comes off and the private mask goes on. The tension of wearing a public mask gets to her. She comes home after 4-5 hours out in public and she has to act up. Every time she acts up. Two hours in public she is OK. Three to four hours things are tense and she gets wobbly. She can not manage to be in public longer than five hours. She comes apart and is liable to hit someone and go to jail, so she heads for home. Her time in public is VERY LIMITED. This causes people to assume she is normal and high functioning when she is not. People do not see her behind closed doors to realize she is off her nut.

My mom and dad got married due to they were pregnant. My mom was 16 when she got pregnant. She is stuck in Arrested Development at age 16. This does not help.

Borderline is rarely by itself. It goes with other illnesses. It is what is known as a "Cluster Illness" meaning a group of illnesses can be found all together in one person in a cluster.

For instance:
My mom has the following illnesses.
1. Borderline Personality Disorder
2. Histrionic Personality Disorder
3. Narcissistic Personality Disorder
4. She is a Sadist

My mom is a Pathological Liar. She is skilled at lying to cops, doctors, lawyers and people in a position of authority. Even if she is forced into treatment...she will simply lie to get out of there. Getting treatment is NOT easy. Per the law I can NOT force her into treatment if she refuses. It her "Patient Right" to refuse treatment. My hands are tied. The state's hands are tied. Nothing can be done about her until she tries to kill someone AGAIN and I report it this time or she self harms. This is the law per the cops and state mental health. She has MORE RIGHTS THAN I DO for protection from her. The law looks after HER better than it does me.

I have looked at every avenue and nothing is open to me to reign her in. The laws favor HER and not her rest of society.

My mom has NEVER ONCE self harmed, attempted suicide or even talked about it. If she did it would be a manipulative move to gain sympathy to her and her cause and part of her Histrionic Personality Disorder. It would not be REAL or genuine suicide attempt. It would only be to gain attention, gather sympathy and a manipulative ploy.

My mom has never felt suicidal a day in her life. She is far too selfish to think that way. The world revolves around HER as a Narcissist.

The mental illnesses with the highest rate of suicide are the Mood Disorders: Major Depression and Bipolar Disorder. Those are the patients that go to the cemetery at a very high rate, NOT Borderline.

It is HIGHLY UNLIKELY Mary Kennedy ONLY HAD Borderline if she committed suicide. I find that highly unlikely.
Borderline is the only illness being released to the press and public, BUT it was NOT the only thing wrong with her. Borderline is where her problems started and got labeled, but it was not the end of the line.

Fascinating discussion! An observation: A significant amount of men who call our Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women seem to be living with abusive partners who have either been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder or have many of the symptoms of it..

So many men have shared how difficult (read: impossible) it is for them to end their relationships.

After years of hearing men say that the reason they stay is that they still love their partners, I started to question them about that -- hoping to help them see the reality (and often times the danger) of their situation.

I would paraphrase some of the things they shared with me, i.e. "she has had you falsely arrested for domestic violence/child abuse, threatened/attempted to kill you, ruined your reputation in the community, run around with other men during your marriage/relationship, used the grocery money to buy shoes/drugs etc., lied to you continually, berated you, blamed you for everything that has gone wrong in her life, and made you feel worthless etc. . . ."

"So what is it that you love about this person?"

What I hear most often is that they remember the person they first fell in love with and still have hopes that things can change back to the way they were then.

Hope springs eternal for many in love with Borderlines, just as it does for those who are in love with people who have other chronic illnesses.

"Chronic" means the condition will never go away. "Illness" means the condition needs treatment to at least relieve the symptoms -- for the person suffering and all who are in contact with them.

When people have cancer, they are eager for help. Borderines usually blame others around them for the problems in their lives . . . so they usually don't go for help..

Hello Lynn,

I've read your work and found it very informative and also so appreciate your efforts on this subject.

I'd like to comment in response to some comments about people with Borderline Personality Disorder not getting the help they need.

There's another aspect to this that perhaps people do not realize. When someone IS diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, health insurance doesn't cover treatment for it, because recovery "statistics" are so dismal.

Therefore, some people (including a friend of mine who shall remain nameless) and their therapists resort to calling the disorder something ELSE -- that WILL be covered -- like Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

There's even a movement among some in the professional community to get the "name" of Borderline Personality Disorder changed in the DSM to "Dislimbia".

This is an effort to just distance the illness from the CLEAR stigma attached to its current name and allow sufferers to seek help AND have health insurance cover it.

Thanks for your comments, Virtually Here. I couldn't agree more.

Personally, I don't think "Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" even begins to describe Borderline Personality Disorder.

Sure, Borderlines experienced stress in their childhood -- abuse, neglect and abandonment. But "stress disorder" doesn't describe the behavior of a Borderline.

In addition, changing Borderline Personality Disorder to "dislimbia" won't describe the behavior either. All it will do is describe one of the brain malfunctions 'causing' the behavior.

I don't think that hiding the actual behavior of any disorder is helpful. I remember wondering what in the world "bipolar disorder" was. What did the North and South Poles have to do with mental illnes? : )

However, the old diagnosis, which correctly named the disorder's 'behavior' -- manic depression -- was very clear to everyone -- the sufferer and the public -- what the ill person struggled with.

I think the mental health profession should take some instruction from Alcoholics Anonymous. They don't call an alcoholic an "Alcohol Over-User". They name it, call it what it is, tell the person to get over it and get control of the pain they're causing in their lives and the lives of others around them.

I'll also add that softening the name of Borderline Personality Disorder to something the general public can't even spell won't "allow sufferers to seek help".

For one thing, Borderlines at this point in time don't even know what they're suffereing from -- so how could they be running from a stigma?

Secondly, with most Borderlines, if 'we' didn't do what we do (come home late from work, change our tone of voice), 'they' wouldn't feel the way they do -- so in their mind IT'S OUR FAULT!

So why would they go for help for something they don't believe they caused?

And really. Does the mental health profession actually think the insurance companies won't see through their ploy to change the name of Borderline Personality Disorder iin order to get treatment for it covered?

The DSM-V, due to come out next year, is allowing therapists to combine more than one diagnosis (Borderline Personality Disorder with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, for example).

I'm thinking this might allow the Borderline disorder to get treated along with OCD, the treatment for which insurance companies 'do' pay.

What do you think?

For some background, my brother is going thru a divorce.

For the past 16 months, not to mention the 14 years he was married to her, his life as well as his family's life has been pure hell. There have been false 911 reports, lies told to their 12 year old daughter, boyfriends moved in, manipulations of utility bills to inflate expenses for my brother, abusive treatment to my 12 year old niece by my sister in law, physical abuse to my brother by my sister in law, open threats to "destroy my brother. to get his job, to take his money and to keep him from ever seeing his daughter again." I could go on and on ,but you know this story well.

To add further to my family's situation, the courts and attorneys have failed my brother miserably. My brother tried to warn his first attorney of what it would be like to deal with his ex-wife. Long story short, in a 12 month period he accumulated a $30,000.00 bill from this attorney to only have her withdraw from his case a week prior to going to court for whas was supposed to be the final divorce. The only reason that my brother currently has 50/50 custody is that...oh by the way, I forgot to mention that my sister in law has been arrested twice for assault on her grandmother's boyfriend and her sister's husband. And, I might add that the man she has brought around my neice has a felony conviction for domestice violence, false imprisonment, failure to pay child support. The 1st attorney had access to all of this information and did nothing. Not to mention that this attorney nor the courts or Sheriff's Department did nothing about the false 911 call where she accused my brother and I both of being in the house trying to beat her up with a gun. We both had proof that we were each 40 or more miles away with friends. She did this 2 days after having received divorce papers and in an attempt to keep my brother and our family from seeing my niece.

Now let's move to the 2nd attorney. Nothing. Same crap and my brother is back in court as I type this for contempt. The divorce is final and she has bought another house but refuses to leave. My brother did not have the money to pay the inflated electric bill, it was cut off in the primary residence which was awared to my brother in the final decree but he's hauled back into court for contempt. Let me add that she was court ordered to pay car and truck payments. The car was sold and was 2 months behind at the time of the sale and my brother had to make up the difference. Nothing was done to her. The truck was 3 months behind in payments, to the tune of $1100.00 and nothing was done to her. And yes, attorney #2 filed contempt charges in the courts and the judge did nothing.

It might help to know that her attorney was college roommates with the judge. It might also be of interest to know that her attorney has had sexual harrassment charges brought against him as well as domestice violence and assault. Nothing done. Seems that everyone else around this bunch is crazy and worthless.

Finally, I have worked in the Mental Health Profession in an administrative capacity for 25 years. I've been to the meetings, I've listened to clincal staff in ground rounds. I am familiar with borderline personality disorder. To help my brother and my neice cope with living with this demon, for the past 3 years I have sought counseling to try and learn how to "deal" with these type individuals.

To change this to "Post Traumatic...." implies some sympathy to these people. My brother and nearly my entire family has been destroyed by her actions. I have no sympathy, empathy, or anything for this woman but pure hatred. And I have heard on many occasions in the treatment arena at work, these individuals cannot be helped. actually, they do whatever they can to avoid having to provide treatment.

I doubt this will be posted and that's ok. I supposed this has been some sort of therapy for me.

I think that the name is confusing but that's a minor part of the issue. I think that the main problem is getting a correct diagnosis and motivating those with BPD to want to seek help.

If they don't want to get well, there isn't a thing we can do about it except get out of their lives.

I agree that Borderline Personality Disorder is NOT complex post traumatic stress disorder.

In the first place, PTSD implies that there has been a trauma, and I don't subscribe to the idea that anything can be a trauma.

Dr. Marsha Linehan refers to 'invalidating environments'. These can be abusive, but a parent who over-protects can be just as invalidating.

Yet, even the concept of invalidating environments doesn't completely explain the Borderline's behavior. Even more so, it doen't fit the experiences of those of us who live with a Borderline Personality Disorder afflicted individual.

'Invalidating enfironments' removes the responsibility for the behavior of the manipulator.

My hunch is that the Complex PTSD label is an attempt to excuse the behavior of the BPD by justifying it as stemming from abuse.

Correlational research as a whole on this topic does not support this thesis. Descriptive research does not really distinguish between phenomena.

I agree, Dan. Borderline Personality Disorder is a sad condition that people don't even know they're suffering from.

It's like a person dying of diabetes without ever getting a diagnosis.

But we know the symptoms of diabetes.

Borderlines, however, -- and their partners and family members -- are color blind to the behaviors that indicate the possibility of this disorder.

Why are we ignorant about it? Because no one has told us about it.

The mental health profession hasn't stepped up to the plate and edeucated us about it.

I agree with the commenter who said:

'Invalidating environments' removes the responsibility for the behavior of the manipulator.

At some point, we need to confront the person suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder and demand accountability.

Now . . . this isn't always possible.

Family members may be concerned that the Borderline will bolt, get themselves in serious trouble and have no one to turn to.

After all, there are no support groups for Borderline Personality Disorder Anonymous -- yet -- to fall back on.

And spouses fearing for the safety of their children face much the same dilemma -- the possibly damaging side effects of requiring admission by the Borderline that they are the ones causing the relationship pain.

And so goes the struggle of trying to help Borderlines get well -- to stop the pain in their own lives as well as others.

Anyone who denies the effects of medications, brushes aside the possibility of side effects such as suicide, is quite frankly ill informed. Many medical professionals will not attribute actions to medications, noting them "rare" or "unlikely" when in fact they are experienced frequently.

Not commenting on Borderline Personality Disorder or anything else in saying this. Rather commenting on the reliability of advice of medical professionals who are unlikely to be familiar with all aspects of a medication.

What a joy to find somenoe else who thinks this way.

The comments to this entry are closed.