True Stories 3

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. Is her temper so unpredictable that you’re constantly on your toes, adrenaline pumping, waiting for the next verbal attack? When you try to calm her down, does it only make her angrier? Is it difficult to enjoy the good times because you’ve been sucked in too often and you’ve learned to never let your guard down?

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

“Mood swings” is such a benign name for such a rotten experience. “Wanna go for a swing?” you’d ask your daughter and she’d eagerly agree. “Let’s go swing dancing.” Yeah, that sounds like fun. Or “What kinda trader are you? I’m a swing trader.” Sure, no problem. Even a “swinging lifestyle” connotes pleasure. But mood swings from a borderline are realy just emotional whiplash.

The anger would come out of nowhere. She’d be happy, then suddenly she’d be lashing out at me. She’d be busy working on something, then suddenly she’d lash out at me. She’d wake up, walk through the bedroom, and get furious with me. I’d be gone to work, come home, and my arrival would trigger an explosion. Leaving would trigger an explosion. Breathing would trigger it. Literally anything could trigger it. In 25 years with her, I never could figure out what would set her off. The only safe bet was to assume anything and everything could set her off. Thus “walking on eggshells.”  Her anger was like a lightning strike out of a clear blue sky – no warning, no reason to suspect it, entirely arbitrary.

She’d always have a reason, of course. It’s just that the reason never made sense. But I loved this person and genuinely wanted to be a good mate to her, so I’d take her anger to heart and over the years began to believe I truly was as insensitive and selfish as she said I was, even though nothing my experience told me otherwise.

Life with a borderline is living in a hall of mirrors. Nothing is EVER what they say it is.

Believe your OWN experience, regardless of what the borderline in your life tells you. Your experience and your feelings are every bit as valid as hers.

Q. Do you find yourself hiding negative thoughts or feelings because it’s easier than dealing with the other person’s overreactions or because talking about problems simply makes them worse?

A. Yes, this was an ongoing problem. 

As you can imagine, living with someone with that kind of volatile, unpredictable temper led to some changes in me. Before I married her, I was a pretty blunt, straight-speaking, no-bullshit kind of thinker. But that kind of honesty (and bluntness) almost always resulted in tremendous anger from her. In fact, anything that she perceived as a negative comment about her looks, actions or behavior would trigger either an emotional meltdown or an explosion. So I learned to just keep my thoughts and beliefs to myself.

When you ask someone to be honest with you, don’t punish them for giving you what you asked for.

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