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 on: June 11, 2024, 02:08:06 PM  
Started by Lady Threshold - Last post by Lady Threshold
I'm forty-seven years old, transgender female and in a relationship with another transwoman who has BPD. I've been in this relationship for six years and it's not getting any better.

At first it seemed like it was meant to be. We were friends for years, both trans, we had transitioned together and though she had issues she seemed like she wanted to repair her life and move on from her early years. She asked me to help her learn skills she had missed out on and for a while she seemed to be making a lot of progress. I was fooled.

Soon after she moved in she quit her job. She now only works on a web comic with about two-hundred people who give her small sums of money on Patreon and most of the time she doesn't even do that. Her mood swings are wild, she's verbally abusive, abusive to the cat and dog as well. She promised that if I ever got sick though that she would get a real job. Long story short I got cancer and when I asked her to get a job she refused and got angry.

She will abuse any substance available. This became all too clear when after surgery to remove the tumor I had I had to be rushed back to the hospital with a blood clot. I nearly died and while I was spening a week in the ICU and another in a regular hospital room she was taking all of the pain medication I had been given. When I got home I could not get anymore. I spent weeks in terrible pain taking only Advil and other over the counter pain meds. I'm on Ambien and she will steal that too, once she ODed on it and after that I bought a lock box...that she broke into and after that I bought a better safe to keep it in.

It's been five years since cancer treatment ended and she still threatens me that if it comes back and I die she will commit suicide. If I leave her at all she threatens to commit suicide. Once, I said it was over and she took a razor to her wrist and we ended up at the ER. That was four years ago when she was officially diagnosed with BPD.  I'm scared to even think about leaving not only because of my own finances as I'm now on SSDI after cancer treatment but also because she may kill herself and even if she doesn't she has no idea how to care for herself. She doesn't know how to pay bills, save money, work an actual job and she owes the IRS thousands. She doesn't even know how to cook for the most part or clean either. She's forty-five going on fifteen...or maybe twelve. I'm not her partner I'm her mother.

She asks me constantly if I intend to leave her and seems enamored with the idea that she has an actual mental health diagnosis and uses that as a get out of jail free card. "That was very hurtful...." "I have BPD! It's incurable! There is nothing they can do for it!" 

She often angry, refuses to give me any personal time or space. We have to watch what she wants which is usually mindless YouTube videos. We have to talk about what she wants and I have to say what she wants to hear or risk a BPD rage moment that makes Bruce Banner look tame. She also talks about wanting to kill people which makes me nervous. There is a lot more but I'll end it here for now. Thanks for reading this.

 on: June 11, 2024, 01:23:35 PM  
Started by sunbird - Last post by CC43

You must be exhausted and feel despair at times.  Has your daughter been diagnosed with BPD?  If she has been diagnosed, how did she take it?  I think it would be a good sign that she actually tried to work with a therapist at some point.

My stepdaughter was diagnosed with BPD, and she exhibited most of the classic symptoms.  I think two things underlie her issues:  a pervasive, excessively negative attitude, and volatile, hair-trigger emotions.  The two conditions conspired to make her "primed" for a "trauma response" to ordinary life stressors and disappointments.  By trauma response, I mean a fight-or-flight reaction.  The "fight" reaction manifested as angry outbursts, typically directed at loved ones.  The "flight" reaction manifested as avoidance--including social isolation, blocking contact with others and an inability to complete daily routines.  This unfortunate set of reactions pervaded practically all aspects of her life.  And the negative attitude wasn't constrained to her opinions of others--her negative attitude extended to herself.  I think she HATED herself and spent most of her waking hours ruminating about that, particularly about her looks, even though she is a beautiful woman!

Another consequence of the pervasive negativity and emotional dysfunction is the blaming.  Are you blamed for all your daughter's problems?  This is problematic, because that means she can't, or won't, take responsibility for herself.  For as long as she thinks others are the cause of her problems, she has no reason to believe that she's the one who needs therapy.

I imagine that your loving suggestions to see a therapist are met with anger.  She's angry because she's clinging to victimhood--getting help would be an admission that she was part of the problem, and that just doesn't fit with her narrative.  And getting help would conflict with her avoidance tactics, if your daughter is anything like my stepdaughter.

In my stepdaughter's case, she had to hit bottom in order to decide to get help, so that she could start to feel better.  That your daughter is 38 and hasn't hit bottom yet could be a sign that she's incredibly stubborn; alternatively, you've supported her so lovingly and effectively that she's avoided the bottom altogether.  But it's probably not sustainable for you to ease all your daughter's stressors and disappointments, because life without stress or disappointment doesn't exist.

I think there is a silver lining, however.  If your daughter has bouts of depression, there are medications to help with that.  If she's moody, there are mood stabilizers.  These days, I think there is little stigma around taking medications which help even out the brain chemistry that might have gone a little haywire.  I know that my stepdaughter was reluctant to take medications at first, but when she began taking them reliably, I could see that her moods became more evened out, and she was able to resume more customary, adult routines:  looking after herself, taking care of her apartment, working a little, studying a little, sleeping at nighttime, etc.  Resumption of more "normal" routines and relationships helps bolster confidence and pushes back some of that negativity.

The issue may be that your daughter has to decide for herself that she has a problem and wants to start feeling better.  A responsible adult goes to the doctor when she's sick, in order to get a diagnosis and get a treatment plan (and then stick with it or try something else the doctor recommends).  But when will your daughter recognize that she needs to go to the doctor?  When she sees that her problems are her problems, and not caused by you.  Maybe you could tell her that, but I think people with untreated BPD don't process loving feedback in a logical way.  All she hears is that you deny responsibility for her dysfunction, and that you are criticizing her, making her feel rage.  I think she has to come to the realization herself that she needs help.

One thing that ultimately helped my stepdaughter was conditioning financial support on getting therapy.  In other words, if she wanted her dad to continue to pay for rent, the car, groceries, insurance, schooling, etc., she had to get therapy.  She could choose not to go to therapy, but then she'd be on her own financially.  Once she hit bottom (which included several hospital stays and the loss of all friends), her choice was easy.  Fortunately, she's in a better place now than she was a couple of years ago, with therapy and medication.

 on: June 11, 2024, 12:41:31 PM  
Started by Blackwing - Last post by kells76
Welcome back  Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

My DIL gave birth to our grandson, and happily he is healthy.
But as I have anticipated, from everything I've read about the arrival of the gchild, she is just beginning to follow a predictable pattern of not allowing me to hold him.
She says she doesn't feel comfortable letting others take him when he's restless or not feeling well.
Which this does make sense, except that to her, it has been quite often.

Am I following that you all do get together, it's more that when you are all together, she doesn't want others holding the baby?

pwBPD (persons with BPD) often have high validation needs. We all have validation needs -- the need to be really understood, to have others "get" how we feel -- and pwBPD may have higher-than-normal needs there, plus fewer skills and resources to manage when they don't get that need met.

True emotional validation -- really getting where someone is coming from, truly and genuinely understanding why they might feel the way they feel -- can be a way to connect to others and build relationships. We don't have to agree that what they do out of those feelings makes sense, but we can really put in some effort to put ourselves in their shoes and figure out: if I were in that situation, feeling that way, what would that be like?

I think you're on to something here:

She says she doesn't feel comfortable letting others take him when he's restless or not feeling well.
Which this does make sense, except that to her, it has been quite often.

She may not have an accurate perception of if GS is truly restless or truly ill. Her perceptions may be heightened, or skewed, or more informed by her own feelings than by how GS is really doing.


Imagine that you truly thought your infant child was crying for you, or was unwell, or did a little better with you than others.

You would probably do something similar -- we all would.

That's emotional validation  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

We don't have to figure out if the other person's perceptions or lenses are accurate. We can relate to -- if we did really feel that, or really think that, it might make sense why they do what they do.

I wonder if you might be able to build a little bit of positive relating with DIL, through emotional validation?

Next time you are all together, and maybe you ask to hold GS, and she says "I just think he is too fussy and wants me", instead of personalizing it ("she's starting to withhold GS from me"), it'd be interesting to see what happened if you used emotional validation:

"You really care about him", or
"You really want the best for him, don't you", or
"I know if my baby were fussy, I'd want to hold him, too"

or something, in your own words and with a warm tone and body language, that says: "I get it -- anyone would be doing the same thing if they thought _____".

I think my overall thought is -- it's a good thing that you are all still getting together and the baby is at least around you (though she is perhaps overreacting to her skewed perceptions). Creating some understanding -- so maybe she can let down her defenses a bit -- could be a way to keep that relational door open, so instead of her seeing you as a threat ("Blackwing is trying to take my baby" -- emotional reasoning), she can experience you as someone who understands.

Of course, you know her best, so if something here is off base, let me know. Just some food for thought!

 on: June 11, 2024, 11:47:15 AM  
Started by Halcyon_days - Last post by kells76
Hi Halcyon_days and first of all,  Virtual hug (click to insert in post)

I have no communication with child services and I have no way to get her medication to her or let anyone know about her appointments.

What has your experience been so far with trying to communicate with/to them?


We recently went through a CPS investigation (initiated by me about things my H's kids told us about their mom's house) here in the USA. Are you in the USA or elsewhere?

Even as the investigated party, you should still have rights (at least in the US) with regards to information about a CPS investigation. If your D15 has been placed out of your home, then it certainly seems like there should be a report, with a report number, in process.

Additionally, you should be able to call CPS on your own if you have concerns about a child being neglected. If you are concerned that your D15 is not receiving necessary medications and not attending prescheduled medical appointments, then you could call CPS and say you have a medical neglect concern. While there is no guarantee what they will do, it could be worth a try, and might create a record or paper trail.

I spent a lot of time reading our state's "DHS Child Welfare Procedure Manual". If you google "[your state] DHS Child Welfare Procedure Manual" you may be able to get some helpful info about how they proceed with investigations. The one I looked at is written for workers, not family, but it gives a behind-the-scenes look at how workers may be approaching your situation.

 on: June 11, 2024, 11:42:27 AM  
Started by campbembpd - Last post by CC43
Hi Camp,

Your situation sounds tough, and it's not easy to assess the intensity of your partner's moods.  My husband, who doesn't have BPD but probably has some BPD traits, can be moody at times.  I've had to establish some boundaries with him, but I confess I'm not always perfect about implementing my boundaries, because his outbursts can be very sudden--he goes from 0 to 60 in less than a second--and seemingly out of nowhere.

Anyway, I try to focus less on the mood and more on the actual behavior.  For instance, it's clear when my husband is crabby, but I'll generally let him complain about things that don't involve me directly.  It's true that work, family issues and daily stresses can wear us all down, and crabbiness from time to time is warranted.  But my husband has a bad habit of yelling at me very loudly when he is displeased with me, triggered by something seemingly insignificant (like me being out of the house for "too long," anything longer than one hour).  My boundary is that when he starts yelling at me, I ask him to lower his voice (step one).  If he continues to yell, I try to extricate myself from the situation (step two), by hanging up the phone or leaving the room, to give him time to calm down.  If he calls me again or follows me around, I repeat the process (ask him to please lower his voice, and if he doesn't comply, try to hang up or leave the other room).  It's not always possible, though, because sometimes we'll be in the car, for example.  In that scenario, I'll just stop talking, as anything I say basically feeds his ire, because to him, I'm being argumentative and disrespectful.  I'll note that many times, my husband doesn't think he's yelling (at least that's what he yells back!).  But that's just a lie.  What I've learned is that there is no arguing with him when he's upset and yelling.  He has no interest in hearing my version of events, or showing empathy about my need to have a life outside the confines of the home.  The thing is, he can be very controlling, and his anger is easily triggered--especially if I have a success, meet with friends or don't cater to him every second of the day.  But the difference with BPD is that I think he actually knows he has this issue, and that the problem is more with him than with me.  Sometimes he'll apologize later, sometimes not. 

I understand that shared finances can be tricky.  Like you, I think that with my partner, I bear a disproportionate burden--I've allowed myself to be responsible for a disproportionate amount of household finances and chores.  Maybe part of that relates to my husband's inability to have "empathy" for what others contribute--he's basically solely focused on what HE contributes.  For example, if he goes to the grocery once in two months, that's all he remembers, and he'll complain he does ALL the grocery shopping, completely ignoring the fact that I did the shopping for the other seven weeks.  This phenomenon----selective financial memory--applies practically across the board.  Maybe he's in "denial."  And I don't like to pay late fees or miss payments, whereas that seems to be almost standard practice for him--and what happens is that I'll make a payment, to keep the lights on, pay the taxes or avoid late fees.  So mentally, I've just accepted the fact that I need to finance our joint lifestyle, and anything he decides to contribute is gravy.  But I confess, when I get frustrated at his comments ("I do all the grocery shopping"), sometimes I say, OK then, you go ahead and do ALL the grocery shopping next week.  And the refrigerator will get empty, and he'll grudgingly run to the store.  That usually stops the complaining pretty quickly.  So sometimes I think he is blind to my contributions, because he's just thinking about the money leaving his own wallet.

But in my case, I have the capacity to finance the both of us, and I just end up paying much more than my fair share.  Maybe my husband realizes this, making him feel like less of a provider, and triggering his anger towards me sometimes.  And maybe I shouldn't be thinking in terms of "my" share of expenses at all.  However, in practice, I need to do this, because if my husband feels flush with cash, he'll continue to bankroll the inflated lifestyles of extended family members.  So I feel I can't be too generous with household finances, as I can finance the immediate family, but I don't have the capacity to pay for his adult children and parents in perpetuity (rent payments, vacations, secondary education, cars, home improvements, telephones, entertainment, drugs, etc.).  I can't finance his family's underemployment/unemployment.  So what did I do?  I retired.  If I kept working, I'd just be enabling his family's unemployment, and that is neither sustainable nor fair to yours truly.

As I write this, the refrigerator is starting to look empty.  I've probably spent over $1k on groceries since his last trip to the store.  I feel like he really needs to make a run to the store this week, lest he completely forget how much I contribute, and he can be reminded of food price inflation first-hand.  I told him three days ago it was his turn, and he still hasn't gone.  So I'm enforcing a little boundary (he should go to the grocery once every couple of months) by letting the refrigerator become empty.

 on: June 11, 2024, 10:47:12 AM  
Started by JazzSinger - Last post by jaded7
Yes. I have to remember that his feelings are NOT mine.  If he’s miserable (which is the case, most of the time), it doesn’t mean that I have to be miserable too. I need to remember this. Sometimes I’m really good at it, the. At other times, I crumble.  It’s not easy, but I must ALWAYS set firm boundaries. 

Unfortunately, I rarely have empathy when he’s miserable and raging, even though I know he’s in pain. I usually just remind myself that he’s mentally ill, and I’m not.  But maybe that’s a form of empathy too.

Thanks so much. You’ve helped tremendously. 

Just following along and sending you good thoughts JazzSinger. I so recognize your feelings here and am glad you have this board for advice and support.

The call to the abuse hotline is something I did myself and they told me it was abuse, and I had a therapist that told me in no uncertain terms my ex was abusive.

It's hard to internalize that for me, maybe for you too. I feel like I should be able to take the verbal insults and put downs and yelling (and much more). I feel like she must have had a good 'reason' for acting the way she did. And then I turn it all around and say it was my fault.

Getting to the place where you really know it's abuse is hard for some of us. Patricia Evans was mentioned in this thread. Her book The Verbally Abusive Relationship has been a lifesaver for me. It really gets to the heart of the matter and captures the dynamics of these relationships so well.

Her central theme is 'power over' and 'mutuality and co-creation'. The abuser is operating from a power over perspective and we are operating from a mutuality and cocreation perspective in the relationship.

Thus we have different lenses, and the world of the relationship looks so different for each party. And that's why it's so hard to understand our partner's behavior and actions....it makes no sense in our world view. WE'D never do/say that, why would we? We have no desire or need for power over.

 on: June 11, 2024, 10:18:41 AM  
Started by ThanksForPlaying - Last post by jaded7
seemed like your "soulmate." They were not.

Here's why:

1) A soulmate would not leave you or do anything to make you leave. Their love for you would be equal to yours for them.

2) A soulmate would put your wants and needs on an equal plane to yours. No, that's never a perfect distribution, but it isn't as one-sided as what you describe.

3) A soulmate would be concerned about your feelings and welfare. They would check in on you, they would not ghost, and they would not break promises and commitments without having a good reason and most likely one totally out of their control.

4) A soulmate would not risk losing you by doing anything that puts the relationship in jeopardy.

This is a helpful list. I started to add my own to it, but thought better of it as the list got to 10 very quickly.

They feel very true to me. I think we sometimes put our exes on a pedestal  and think of them as these really amazing people who make our lives so much better. But really, you captured the heart of the matter- all the individual 'events' and things they did are subsumed in the above.

Really, a person who loves you would absolutely put your wants and needs on equal plane to theirs. That's a central part of love. And your feelings would matter! That means they would not ghost you, 'forget' about commitments and/or ghost you. It would be important to them to show their love to you by respecting those commitments.

 on: June 11, 2024, 10:17:04 AM  
Started by campbembpd - Last post by kells76
One thought to add to this discussion:

I know that the conventional wisdom says that boundaries are about protecting yourself and not changing the other person, but I believe that is not 100% true in all cases. I take a lot of responsibility for "training" my wife that it was ok to abuse me. Every time that she did so and I did nothing, it reinforced negative behavior and she would escalate. It eventually ended up in pretty severe physical abuse. I am now in the position of "re-training" her that her abusive behavior is not, in fact, ok, and that it will no longer be tolerated. She can hate her boss at work, but would never hit him over the head with something because she fears the consequences. She has now learned to fear the consequences of hitting me (the police came and threatened to take her away) and therefore no longer does it.

We may be talking about the same thing from different angles.

Imagine two persons donating their entire fortunes to charity. While it wasn't a guarantee that it would happen, both receive widespread and positive attention -- glowing news articles, etc.

One person donated her fortune because that's who she wanted to be -- she knew it was possible that there would be positive attention, but that wasn't her goal.

The other person donated her fortune with the express goal of receiving the spotlight. Again, while it wasn't under her control, she was doing everything she could to influence the media to shine a positive light on her.

So the action (donating fortune) and outcome (positive media attention) were the same, but the intentions behind the action were completely different -- and the intentions do matter.

I wonder if we're talking about two aspects of boundaries (rules for ourselves) -- the intention behind boundaries, and the outcomes of boundaries, and how even when the action and outcome of having a boundary can be the same, the intention behind it can differ.

In your situation, you could hypothetically have two intentions behind your boundary:

-a foundational respect for yourself and decision to protect and respect yourself; or
-no meaningful respect or regard for yourself, but a desire to change/control the other person

The actions and outcomes of the boundary could be the same -- your W, for whatever reason (fear of consequences, concern for image, genuine insight, discomfort, whatever) changing how she relates -- but only the first intention (respecting yourself) seems valid in terms of true boundaries. The other intention is just being controlling.

I think I'm correct in guessing that when you say this:

I am now in the position of "re-training" her that her abusive behavior is not, in fact, ok, and that it will no longer be tolerated.

it's coming from a place of making a rule for yourself about your own value, that you will respect and protect yourself

versus coming from a place of wanting to control and manage your W's behavior?

it's a subtle difference -- but I think it's critical. And I suspect we're talking about different facets of the same topic.


With #1 I can walk away, go to a hotel even if she starts raging. I can choose options to remove myself from that situation. With the finances thing I'm wondering WTH can I do. Since I can only control myself - what do I do when/if she holds her ground and she's keeping thousands a month for herself instead of contributing? Any suggestions?

True boundaries are often uncomfortable.

I'd assume that she may continue keeping all "her" money for herself. I might also assume that she will never contribute to the "ours" household. You may need to assess what level of lifestyle you can responsibly afford on only your income. Sure, she may hold her ground and never contribute. You are allowed to plan and budget your own money to match what you can actually afford, regardless of what she does or doesn't do. You are allowed to have your own bank account. If you really can't afford to continue on "as is" without her contributing, then yeah, you may need to make some changes on your end. We have to solve the problems actually in front of us, not the problems we wish we had instead.

I wonder if the challenge is less about knowing what needs to be done, and more about managing the discomfort of sticking to it?

 on: June 11, 2024, 09:55:43 AM  
Started by iloveonions - Last post by kells76
Hey iloveonions;

To me, it sounds like there are three aspects of this situation:

1. His insight/recognition (or lack thereof) that things are unfair
2. What each of you actually does to contribute
3. How you feel about things

My thought about #1 is that I would assume that "he is who he is" and he is a person who for whatever reason can't (or won't, or doesn't) see the unfairness. This seems like a feature, not a bug, of BPD. So I would assume that apart from long-term effective therapy, he will remain a person who is not going to recognize or acknowledge when a household situation is imbalanced. That is part of his impairment, and it can take a lot to truly accept that about a partner.

You may have a bit more agency with #2. Like you mentioned here:

Usually, with neurotypicals, I can come to an understanding pretty easily, while with him I feel like he can not even see all that I'm doing for him.

"Generally normal" communication approaches, such as explaining, reasoning, pointing out, compromising, and coming to an understanding, are often not effective with pwBPD. If you do find yourself wanting to communicate an important truth about yourself, reach an agreement, make a statement about what you'll do, etc, you may find our Communication Tools (in our Relationship Skills section of theTools and Skills Workshops) helpful, especially the DEARMAN structure for making a request.

Fundamentally, though, I think I agree with you that #3 (how you feel) is key:

with him I feel like he can not even see all that I'm doing for him. I am feeling very resentful at this point.

Resentment is an important feeling to pay attention to. It might be a sign that you're disrespecting your own boundaries.

Do you think the resentment is more about him not seeing the unfairness, or him not actually doing his share?

What I mean by that is:

If he just truly acknowledged that it was unfair, but didn't do anything different, how would you feel?
If he never acknowledged that it was unfair (and, in fact, kept complaining about how much he did), but actually did more, how would you feel?


We can troubleshoot this with you  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

 on: June 11, 2024, 09:51:01 AM  
Started by AlleyOop23 - Last post by livednlearned
How about give the kids a quick heads up and normalize it for them. Something like:

Hey, obviously we're all adjusting to changes here. I'm anticipating this trip will be hard for your mom. She's learning distress tolerance and right now she's experiencing distress. I know she'll feel hurt and might say things that aren't nice and I wish she wouldn't do that in front of you but I have no say over that, other than to let you know I'm here if you want to talk. We're going because this trip is important to me, and to you, for x y z reasons. Hopefully the challenges your mom feels she can talk about with people in her circle, and learn how to handle her feelings so they aren't overwhelming for her. That's a good thing to know in life -- have someone in your life like a therapist you can talk to if you find yourself in an emotional deep end.

You want to model calm for them, and compassion, without letting mom's behavior change the outcome of something that is very reasonable. Sort of what you would say about a child having a tantrum that you care about, even if the behavior is tough for everyone.

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