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Author Topic: I think my boyfriend has BPD, now what?  (Read 6668 times)
penelopeplease
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« on: February 04, 2010, 02:43:56 PM »

This is my story. I am 22 years old, and a year ago I met my boyfriend, 25 years old. He was/is the kindest, most polite, and loving person I had ever met. Everyone that meets him adores him. He has a ridiculous amount of friends. He is extremely smart, charming, attractive, hard working, and very funny. On the outside, there is nothing not to love about him. So needless to say, we fell in love extremely fast and hard. We have spent almost every single day and night together since. However, this amazing side of him that everyone sees and adores turned out to be only one side of him. Only I have the misfortune of seeing the other side of him.

He soon began getting extremely upset with me about nothing and everything. I accidentally didn't introduce him to someone-he immediately hates me. I had boyfriends and had sex with them before him-I disgust him. I accidentally drop a fork-I'm a horrible person. Everything seems to be one-sided and a double standard with him too. He hates me for having ex's and having sex before I met him. Yet he himself has had ex's and a list of sexual partners too long for him to count. He accuses me of making eye contact and/or staring at other men and wanting to be with other men. (not true, of course.) Instead, he is the one doing these things. I caught him lying to me about seeing another girl behind my back. I am still unsure if anything sexual happened during these meetings. A few days later I caught him texting another girl sexual things (while he laid in bed next to me just after having sex). His reasoning for this was because he was angry with me. I sometimes wonder if he is projecting. (says that I want other guys, am bored with him, ect because he himself actually wants other girls and is bored with me, ect)

His moods are so unpredictable. One minute he is madly in love with me and the sweetest man you will meet. The next he is either lashing out at me or giving me the silent treatment. One second he is telling me he wants to marry me, the next that I ruin his life and he is better off alone. One second im the best thing that has happened to him, the next im the worst. If one thing goes wrong, everything is wrong. And everything is wrong because of me.

He has been physical with me earlier in the relationship (when he was furious/upset and didn't want me touching him...I would touch him and he would then become physical.) He hasn't done this in a while, but when he is upset he still tells me to not touch him and doesn't want me near him. Will give me the silent treatment. Will rip up pictures of us together. Rips love notes I have written him.

He questions me about everything. And I can never give a good enough answer. The more I say, the more angry he gets. And suspicious. He thinks I have all these ulterior motives when I don't. (for example, the other day he asked why I washed and blow dried my hair after the gym because I usually only do that when I'm going to work straight after. this lead him to believe I did my hair because there was a boy in class that I was trying to impress. When in reality, I just wanted to wash my hair after the gym!) I am constantly having to explain my self,and defend myself against ridiculous accusations.

All I do is love him. And do a million thoughtful and caring things to prove to him how much I love him. But it never seems like enough. He can't stop questioning me. He can't trust me or believe me.

I just recently learned about BPD, and it all seems to make so much sense now. In addition to everything mentioned above, last night (after a day of ignoring me because in the morning he was angry and upset with me "not because i did anything wrong, but just for being who i am",) he came home from work very depressed. Said that he knows Im going to leave him, because everyone in his life has left him. Which is similar to the constant questioning of "Why don't you love me anymore?". (he says it kind of jokingly, but I can tell its not really a joke and it's something that worries him). He has tried to break up with me,most often because he is trying to protect himself form hurting. He can either be this furious scary man that hates me, or this weak sad child that is scared of being left, hurt, and not loved. He has so many BPD signs and symptoms! In addition to all of this, he had a very rough and confusing childhood and family life, half of which he hasn't even told me about yet. He has an extreme amount of stress on him (to list a few things, first person in his family history to attend school, paid his way through school while working full time, completely supported himself from a young age, also often sends money to his mom,dad, and or sister, now attempting a PhD) To add to the equation, both of his other two girlfriends both cheated on him.

My boyfriend is a very good hearted man. Has been extremely sweet,helpful,and loving- on a normal day and when I am sick and/or in need of comforting and help. But there is that other side. The insensitive, cold, cruel, depressed, and angry side. And that is the side that is wearing me thin. I do so much for him and rarely get anything in return but pain and the occasional amazing day that he happens to be in a loving mood (this could change at any second of the day, for no apparent reason tho!) Sometimes it is hard to be understanding, because no matter how angry I am I wouldn't do the cruel things he does to me, to him. Because I am aware of how much it would hurt him, and I don't want to hurt him. However, I understand that he cannot help it. And that is why I am not willing to give up on him or us yet.

I love him with all of my heart and am so thankful I have found this site. However, I don't know what to do from here. I have not mentioned BPD to him. On a few occasions I have mentioned him seeing a therapist (before I knew about BPD, because I knew that his way of thinking about me and life was unhealthy and unwarranted, for the most part), but he always says it won't work. That he has tried in the past and it doesn't do anything. He says that the only reason he hasn't killed himself yet is because he has to become successful and take care of his mother, who is all alone.

So my question is, what do I do? How can I help him? Where do I go now? I can't continue living with like this because I know I will finally break and crumble from all of this pain, but I want to try everything I can to be with him and to make this work. Is it a terrible idea to mention BPD to him?

Im sorry this is so long, I have never been able to speak of any of these things to any one before. And as I'm sure you all know, despite how terrible this post may make him sound, he isn't a terrible person. And there are many amazing attributes to him...it's just that these BPD ones overshadow them most of the time.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story, and I would really appreciate any responses!
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havana
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2010, 03:03:13 PM »

 Welcome! penelopeplease,

I'm sorry someone so young and with so much ahead of her is going through this. You have come to the right place.

Quote
there are many amazing attributes to him...it's just that these BPD ones overshadow them most of the time

I noticed that you had 1 paragraph of the amazing & 8 paragraphs of the BPD traits. Most people with this disease have good attributes some of the time.
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2010, 03:33:25 PM »

Hi and welcome!  Your story sounds very, very familiar…. he does sound like he may be suffering from BPD, but of course we cannot diagnose and there could be other possibilities or additional things going on, too.  Regardless of a diagnoses, his behavior is very hurtful and self-sabatoging and  is causing both himself and those closest to him a lot of pain.

He say’s therapy won’t help or he’s tried it before and it didn’t ‘work’.  He’s hardly old enough to have been in therapy long enough to know that…but, that’s beside the point.  A big part of BPD and other similar conditions like Bi-polar etc., is a capacity for DENIAL.   It’s kind of built into the ailment itself, so it’s a hard nut to crack.  The sense of immortality that comes with youth can make it even harder.

My opinion?  You’ve got nothing to lose, not married yet, no kids, you are both young.  If I were you, I’d tell him you love him but cannot move forward in a relationship with him long term unless he is in treatment for his …call it a ‘mood disorder’…or something…the label is not as important as the fact that he makes it impossible for people to stay close to him.   Optimally he should see someone who specializes in Dilectical Behavior Therapy for emotional disregulation, but getting evaluated by any competent mental health professional would be a good start.   

To me, this would be similar to telling an alcoholic you won’t continue to move forward in a serious relationship unless he is actively engaged in recovery. 

Even if he chose to seek therapy…if you plan to stay with him, there is a lot for you to learn, too.  It won’t be easy.

That’s why, since you are somewhat unencumbered with some of the burdens that make these kinds of ultimatums difficult if not impossible as we get older (kids, finances etc.,) …I think you would be doing him a service to require he seek treatment as a condition of you moving forward with him.  I had to do that with my bf.  But, we’re in our 40s.  You are at a different stage in your life and have to chose what makes sense for you. 

If eventually both of you break up due to the inevitable stress; don’t imagine for a minute that some other woman will come along who handles him better or is a better fit for him or will love him more or whatever.  This poor guy is going to sabatage all his most important relationships for years until or unless he gets help.   I know my fiance would have loved it if someone toed the line with him much earlier rather than waiting until his 40s to get help.

If you give an ultimatum of this nature, he may of course bolt.  That’s an easier risk to take now, then later.   

Meanwhile, there are tools on this site that you should read and learn to help educate yourself no matter what you choose.

I’m sorry you are dealing with this, I know it’s hard.  As you  mention, these folks have tremendous gifts and usually a lot of love to give, but they are their own worst enemies prior to treatment.   Please start trying to think a little differently about his abhorrent behavior and critical remarks toward you.  Like a trapped animal, they chew at their own paws to escape, creating more and more damage even while you are trying to provide their key to freedom.  Learning to take care of ourselves is a big part of healing… often after years of all the focus being on ‘them’.  This experience could actually offer you some very important skills that will be very beneficial for you in any relationship, even those where someone is not disordered.
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2010, 04:42:19 PM »

hi penelope, welcome. i had the same experience with yours. both undiagnosed BPD exes of mine were insecure of my past. my last boyfriend also had a string of women before me and he wishes that he was my first.

to share an experience, i tried to convince my ex to see a therapist for possible ADD (his sister has it and before i heard of BPD i thought he has ADD). he was pretty convinced at first, but when his BPD switch is on, he'd be in denial again.

i heard from other partners of BPDer that the BPDer should be the ones to initiate the willingness to seek therapy. they must hit a sort of realization.
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2010, 08:31:36 AM »

Hello penelopeplease,

 Welcome! I swear you and i could be with the same person! Reading your post just confirms once again how similar people with BPD are. The eye contact thing - oh man i get that ALL THE TIME! we even once had to leave a wedding because he was convinced i made eye contact with another guy - huge fight (before i learned about the tools). And why are you taking a shower? why are you dressed up (wearing jeans and a shirt), you're in a good mood, who put you in a good mood b/c i know it wasn't me... No matter how much i try to reassure him, the insecurity does not end. in fact the only time he is not insecure is when he is disengaging.
Like you, my dBPDh is an amazing man, full of passion. he is funny, kind, (when he's not raging) loving, a wonderful father, smart, beautiful, so much fun to be around. He is everything i have ever wanted in a husband. and then the monster comes out - somedays i am so completely blindsided because it just seems to come out of no where like a bolt of lightning. And i fought back - the rages were out of control - started getting physical and very scary.
Now i try to validate and have begun setting boundries - the changes are vey slow and we are taking it one day at a time. But whenever i feel really low, or ask myself what the heck am i doing here, i try to remember that he has an illness and can't help it and i remember all of the amazing things that i love about him. You really have to be able to let go of resentment and learn how to forgive if you plan on staying. without that it will eat away your soul.
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penelopeplease
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2010, 02:49:20 PM »

Hi everyone, sorry it has taken me a few days to get back to you-I haven't been able to get to the computer privately!

I want to thank all of you that have replied-you all have offered wonderful advice!

And anastasialee, wow, you sound exactly like me! It's so amazing hearing such a similar situation, and definitely brings me some comfort. So far I have been extremely forgiving-I am almost surprised I have managed to be so understanding and forgiving. (I do exactly what you do when you start questioning things-there are so many good things to remember about him and also that he can't help it because he has an illness) I guess my next step is to start setting boundaries and incorporating the other tools.

In the meantime, I think I will bring up the therapy again. (He said he has gone in the past, but never for very long because it doesn't work for him. He is convinced his brain is just set up this way, and that he will always think the way he does and get upset/depressed/angry very easily.) But for the past few days he has been more on the good side than bad, so hopefully it will last long enough for me to touch on the therapy subject! And hopefully it doesn't turn into an argument and set off his bad side...

Thanks so much again for all the support and advice!
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2010, 07:45:49 PM »

Hi dear  smiley

It's great that you figured things out this soon in the relationship. Many members here struggled for years believing that they were at fault. It's much harder to break patterns that have been established for years, than those that are just now beginning to emerge.

Loving someone who suffers from BPD isn't easy. There is a lot that you can do to stop making things worse and begin to make them better. It all begins with you though dear. And it sounds like you are on the right track. Please take your time and look over all of the material we have in the blue box over to the right. All of it is clickable and will take you to some great lessons and workshops that we have developed to help.

Also, please visit us often, since the skills we discuss are best practiced in times of peace so that when the crisis strikes you will have a better understanding of where to go...

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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2010, 08:14:12 PM »



"but when he is upset he still tells me to not touch him and doesn't want me near him. Will give me the silent treatment."

I don't think this is BPD. His reason for anger probably was, but not so much his behaviour during. When I'm angry, I prefer to be left alone too and I can't stand being touched or anything, mostly because I know I will snap at and hurt the people around me. I also give the 'silent treatment', but perhaps the difference is that I do not use it for my own gains. I'm just not very vocal with my anger.

"I had boyfriends and had sex with them before him-I disgust him." This is generally a moral standing, I think. Personally I am not a fan of dating people who have had lots of sexual partners before me either (my rule is no more than two/three), but the hypocrisy of the fact that he has a long list of partners is similar to a BPD mind-set I think.

Anyway, that aside - you describe the two sides to your boyfriend. Yes, he seems to hold some BPD traits, but does he have full-blown BPD? We couldn't tell you that. He may have fleas from a BPD parent, he may be bi-polar or even just be severely depressed. Many of the traits you have described I also exhibited for a good year before entering therapy. I had chronic depression and had also caught fleas from my BPD mother. I do not have BPD itself, as it is rare and the severity of it is unimaginable. You know you've got problems when he starts manipulating all the people around you into believing that you're abusing him.

I would give him an ultimatum, in all honesty - it's therapy, or I walk. People like that, regardless of whether or not he truly has BPD, do not get better on their own. It will carry on like that, and no amount of love you offer will 'change' him.
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