Not sure where I draw the line when my BPD wife becomes abusive. What should be the consequence? Am I protecting myself or am I angry and seeking retribution? She does not learn from consequence. She might be nice for a while, but the same behavior comes back. She has no insight as to cause and effect.
It's my unprofessional opinion here, so take it for what it is worth. I don't think that consequences or retribution have a place in this. People with BPD have been widely reported to have an impairment with empathy and understanding cause in effect, especially when others respond to their negative behaviors. BPD sufferers really are disabled in this area, I'm convinced of that through observing my wife's behavior over a period of time.
When your wife is abusive, she really can't help it, so, it's all about boundaries. Boundaries are for you, and you alone
. They define what actions you
will take if certain circumstances exist. Boundaries are not 'rules' for others to follow... in fact, they aren't even really 'rules' for yourself, because one boundary may have many different driving actions in order to be exercised, and the way that the boundary is protected may be different as well, depending on the circumstances. True 'rules' are more straightforward. Boundaries are for your
protection, and that is all.
"I will not allow others to abuse me"
How the boundary may be exercised: 1. Calmly exit the room when she is being abusive. If she follows you around the house, leave the house. 2. Hang up the phone as gracefully as possible if she verbally abuses you on the phone. 3. Do not respond to abusive text messages... don't even read the text messages if you have a strong suspicion that they will be abusive because she is in a rage.
None of these actions are designed to be punitive to her... now, she may view them that way, but that doesn't make it so. The actions are taken for the sole purpose of protecting yourself, and the relationship, from damage caused by abuse.
How does this all tie-in to emotional care-giving? Well, by being the one to take action that calms the situation, you are in effect regulating the highly-emotional interactions that are known to damage the relationship, your self-esteem, and her shame for her bad behaviors.