True Stories 5

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. Do you feel manipulated, controlled, or even lied to sometimes? Does this per­son attempt to get what they want by making you responsible for their feelings?
A. Yes, this was an ongoing problem of great concern.

This relationship was a “perfect storm” of co-dependency and dysfunction because I am hyper-responsible while she revels in playing the victim. I love being “The Fixer” – which means I loved taking responsibility for fixing anything that displeased her – and she loved blaming everything on anyone but herself. Since the Borderline is never responsible for any of the pain she inflicted upon others or felt herself, it was natural for her to blame the one closest to her – me – and it was equally natural for me to accept that blame.

Talk about hell on earth.

Someone who knows both of us well explained to me why it is (still) impossible to communicate with her: she refuses to hear anything that doesn’t make her feel good.  Whenever I said anything that did not make her feel good, she would lash out at me and turn everything upside down so that I was to blame. I was such an idiot I actually tried to make myself believe that I really was responsible for her life, and I would beat myself up for “failing” to “make her happy”. Of course, I recognize now that she was responsible for her own happiness, not me. But I didn’t know that back then. She and I both believed the same lie: that I was responsible for her happiness.

When there is no honesty in a relationship, the relationship dies. No exceptions. Since  she refused to hear anything she didn’t like, and I grew weary of trying to getting verbally and emotionally assaulted anytime I tried to communicate something less than pleasant, the relationship died years before we finally split up.

When a two-year old is told something he doesn’t like, sometimes he will throw a fit to try to bend his parents to his own will. Parents who give in to this sort of behavior are being manipulated; children who exercise this type of behavior are practicing manipulation. It looks like this:

Two Year Old: “I want candy.”

Parent: “No, you can’t have candy.”

Two Year Old: (To himself) I’m going to throw a fit, scream, holler, cry and generally make everyone else miserable until they give me what I want. (Proceeds to throw himself on floor, screaming, crying and kicking.)

Parent: (To herself) Ohmigodohmigod. What are we gonna do? This fit is so embarrassing and painful to experience.  I’ll do anything to make it stop. I’ll just give him that candy. “Oh, I guess you can have the candy.”

Two Year Old: (Immediately stops crying and kicking. Stands up and takes the candy, suddenly happy.) “Mmmmmm….”

The two-year-old has learned that he can get what he wants by behaving in a way that the other person finds too painful to bear and which the other person is too weak to confront. This is manipulation.

The borderline exercises exactly the same tactics.

My borderline controls the people in her life by throwing “grown-up” fits. They are not the “throwing herself on the floor, screaming and crying” kind of fits, but she throws fits just the same. When she is not given what she wants, she just keeps asking, changes the wording, explains why she is right and they are wrong and selfish and evil for denying her what she wants. She is persistent to the point of madness and everyone in her life has learned that it is easier to give into her than to fight.

I learned this early in our relationship. My failure to stand up to her bullying is my responsibility. Her refusal to admit she ever did anything wrong was her part.


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