True Stories 7

About True Stories. This is my story, my experience of life with a woman who has borderline personality disorder. The Borderline will deny most or all of this, but that too is typical borderline behavior. I tell my story because it is true and because there are many who will read this who also live with a borderline. I want you to know you are not alone and you are not crazy.

The questions come from the book “Stop Walking on Eggshells” by Randi Kreger.

Q. Are you afraid to ask for things in the relationship because you will be told that you’re selfish and demanding? Does this person imply, explicitly declare, or show by example that your needs are not as important as his are?

A. Yes, this was an ongoing problem of great concern.

I remember telling her, towards the very end, “I’m get nothing out of this relationship.” She shot back, “I clean for you, I cook for you, I watch the kids for you, I have sex with you…” and I replied, “I could pay someone to do all those things.” It was true she did those things. But she did nothing I couldn’t pay for. A love relationship requires the one thing that cannot be bought: love.  She gave me nothing I couldn’t buy and that was the root of my discontent. I knew – by her words, her reactions and her complete lack of empathy – that I simply did not matter. She liked what I did for her, but she would have liked ANYONE doing those things for her. I wasn’t special to her as a person, only as a function.

Those words I spoke really upset her. I suppose it was partly my fault because it had been years since I had made any effort to express my own emotional needs. I was emotionally starving to death in the relationship with her, but I’d learned there was no point in telling her about it because – in her view – the whole point of the relationship was her happiness. My emotional state was irrelevant.

She exercised carte blanche to whine about anything and everything that hurt her all-important feelings, but she also expected that I bear every offense and never complain. And the lunacy of it all is that I believed that as well. I truly believed my feelings always took second place to hers. I deluded myself into believing I could bear an unlimited amount of “taking” from her and keep coming back to “give” more. My belief in the sanctity of marriage kept me from making a break for it, even though it was the marriage that was destroying me.

So I appeal to you, those who love and live with a Borderline: recognize that your feelings matter every bit as much as hers do. For a marriage to work, there must be compromise on both parts, give and take from both parties. If you are the only one who compromises and the one who is constantly being taken from, wake up! You have no obligation to be her door mat. The borderline will not honor your feelings – you know that already – so you must care for yourself in whatever way you can find. She will not care for your feelings. In fact, she can not care for her feelings. She is broken in a way almost no one can repair, and she will break those closest to her as well.

 

True Stories 6

About True Stories. This is my story, my experience of life with a woman who has borderline personality disorder. The Borderline will deny most or all of this, but that too is typical borderline behavior. I tell my story because it is true and because there are many who will read this who also live with a borderline. I want you to know you are not alone and you are not crazy.

The questions come from the book “Stop Walking on Eggshells” by Randi Kreger.

Q. Does this person seem to demand constant attention? Is everything always about her/him—say, even your personal medical decisions? 

A. Yes, this was an ongoing problem.

My buddy Brad Whittington used to jokingly say, “if it didn’t happen to me, it didn’t happen.” It was funny when he said it, because it was ironic. But when your spouse lives and acts and speaks as if she means it, then it’s not funny at all. This is how the Borderline experiences the world.

Most normal people — that is, most people without a personality disorder — are perfectly aware that the two-legged things walking around in front of them and making noises with the mouth-shaped orifices on the front of their faces are in fact other human beings.  But the Borderline doesn’t recognize any other humans besides herself. Every other person on the planet is merely a prop on the stage where the drama of her life is played out. As far as the Borderline is concerned, the props exist to make her look and feel good, can be jettisoned when they fail to do that, and cease to exist when not on stage.

If a dog bit me and I reported it to a normal person, the conversation would go something like this:

Me: A dog bit me.

Normal Person: Oh no! Are you all right? Does it hurt? Do you need me to take you the doctor?

But the same conversation with my Borderline ex-wife would go like this:

Me: A dog bit me.

Borderline: You’ll still be able to move those boxes for me, won’t you? I need to have those boxes moved.

For years, I tried to convince myself that she and I just had different communication styles, and that even though it seemed like her only concern in life was how anything and everything affected her safety, security and/or comfort, that was just because I was just misunderstanding her communication style.

But I wasn’t misunderstanding her communication style.

In fact, the Borderline never had a thought about what I might be experiencing because she was incapable of empathy. It never occurred to her that I felt pain too. I was a prop, a piece of the scenery, an expendable extra.

If her life were Star Trek, I’d be the guy on the Away Team who got stuck wearing the Red Shirt. No point in forming an emotional attachment with a character whose role is to move the plot forward by dying.

When I told her how much I hated my job, her concern was how that might affect the amount of money she had to spend. When I told her I was exhausted from all the travel, she was upset that I would stay home and upset her schedule. When I was sick, she was angry with me because I had disrupted her plans. When I was late because I’d had a flat tire, she’d be angry because I wasn’t home to take the kids off her hands.

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I’m write this series because life with a Borderline is impossible. Not “challenging”, or “difficult”, or “hard”. It is impossible, and if you live with a Borderline, you need to know that. I suffered through the abuse for 25 years. My hope is that my experience will help others who are living with a Borderline to save themselves. You cannot save the Borderline. Your life will get progressively worse because the Borderline is an emotional black hole who will suck every ounce of life out of you until you are completely empty.

Borderline Personality Disorder is real, and it is deadly to those who live with the person who has it. You must help yourself first because the Borderline will not help you and will not help herself.