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Skills we were never taught
98
A 3 Minute Lesson
on Ending Conflict
Communication Skills-
Don't Be Invalidating
Listen with Empathy -
A Powerful Life Skill
Setting Boundaries
and Setting Limits
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Author Topic: SUCCESS STORIES  (Read 95892 times)
John Galt
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« on: March 11, 2008, 08:45:00 AM »

This will be very brief as much can be learned in the committed section of this board.

My brief summary is that I came to this board in a very bad situation. Worse than most from what I read.My BPD wife was in a downward spiral which included police charges, many attempts at suicide and obviously many institutional stays. I was following her around like a puppy trying to help in all the wrong ways. I was very supportive and helpful when I should have worried about my 3 kids and I , and let her figure things out alone. My feeling is that me ''helping'' her was really ''helping '' me and hurting her.

I played this game and danced away for 2 years or less all the while talking on this board with some friends while actually making things worse.


My healing came when I looked at me , not at BPD -which I became a world expert on.I went to therappy wondering why I would put up with this abuse,a fake DV charge and watching my kids suffer, and watching me basically die within while I tried to ''help'' her.Therpay helped me regain my strength. Eventually , I told her to leave or I would .Also me leaving would be with the kids.I did give her a choice of a divorce or serious therapy. She took the therapy choice which was very extensive live out of the home 16 week kind of therpapy which was dbt and cbt . No drugs whatsoever. In this time I also sought some help for things that I was doing which was not helping at all.

Today ,my family is strong and happy. My wife has done exceptionally well. We have moments but they never escalate which was our problem before. I participated in that where some here do not believe that they do from what I read.

If my story is a success then so can others perhaps.

Bottom line advice is to work on yourself, radically accept certain things, give a choice and stand firm.

Good luck,

I give big props to Skip and the team for this section. Its important.



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Steph
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2010, 10:30:04 AM »

Years ago, BPD was considered a mental illness that was hopeless. We have all heard about therapists who wouldnt treat a person with BPD, and the levels of frustration and utter inability to work with those suffering from it.

It has been relatively recently that there IS hope, there IS therapy and there IS reason to feel that those with BPD can be helped and healed.

This happened in my own home.

My H was diagnosed with BPD and was referred to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. He is considered recovered.  For our marriage to heal, tho, we had to separate, I had to get into my own therapy for codependance and we had to have therapy with a DBT trained therapist to get well. Today,  BPD is not in our home at all, and we are happy and functioning. There have been many challenges along the way and many surprises.

What is your story of recovery? What has helped you? Your loved one? Your relationship? What challenges have you experienced along the way? What are your hopes for the future?

 
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2010, 11:26:26 AM »

Smiling (click to insert in post)

my partner... isnt cured... but he has made a huge amount of progress... since he started therapy a little over 2 years ago...

im at a advantage i think... bc he was in treatment before we started dating... and i knew what he was dx with... helps a lot with accepting things... bc i knew what the deal was before we even started talking about dating... so... most of the work is his...

my recovery... is mostly remembering to detach... and not engage when hes dysregulated... easier said than done... and detaching my feelings from his... sometimes its really hard... to let him just be however he is without trying to 'fix' things... usually i want to make things better... and its really tiring... and impossible sometimes... when if i let him be... or just listen and try to validate... he comes around a lot faster... and even if he doesnt...

i really have to remember that... him getting  better is not my job... and that all my 'helping' stuff... doesnt help him learn any skills to regulate himself... and thats really important... it ends up hurting in the long run... if im the one always fixing things so he doesnt get upset... he doesnt learn how to come back from upset... or how to balance himself at all...

i meet w/his T once a month or so... so i know where hes at... nothing real specific... just to check in... and a heads up... that he might be more/less dysregulated... or trying a new tool... see how im doing etc... get an idea for what times he needs more support... when he needs space...

moving... was probably the biggest challenge... it was very hard on my partner... and he kind of went off the deep end w/ paranoia about a month before... so we were looking at him being inpatient someplace... until we were ready to leave... didnt end up doing it... but that was pretty scary... for everybody... hes had some really difficult friendships with people... that were really triggering... and sent him into a tailspin every time... really slowly... hes learning to make friendships that are better for everybody involved... i also got more practice at stepping back... and not trying to smooth things over... oops...

major positives: it has been a really long time since he lost it and broke ___... over a year.

he is a lot more willing to open about what is going on... and say honestly how hes feeling... and i try to listen as good as i can...

he hasnt cut in over a year... hasnt self harmed at all in almost 6 months...

im a lot happier... and closer to my friends and family... bc i feel better about taking time to spend time w/them... whether hes up for it or not... if hes not... its ok...

we communicate a LOT better... on both sides... hes learning to validate too... and its really nice...

for the future...

i know he wants to go back to school... i would love to see him do that... hes really smart... and i think he would like it...

mostly... im pretty happy with our lives... him working on his recovery... and getting better for himself... i want for him...
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2010, 07:06:44 PM »

For me, acceptance and learning to take care of myself were the biggest changes to create more happiness.

Radical acceptance - He is who he is... .a duck... .trying to make that duck bark only frustrates me and pisses off the duck.

I also learned to take a time out - a critical skill. We can't save them - we can't control them - we can't make it all better for them. All of our defenses, all of our explanations just come across as invalidations to them, which only make things worse. Learning when and how to walk away from their dysregulation has prevented further verbal abuse, therefore lessening the painful after effects of the verbal abuse and his own shame when he realized how awful he was.

We are often our own worst enemies. Seeing him as the bad guy kept me trapped in a victim mentality. It kept all the power in his hands to do as he wished and left me feeling weak and defenseless. If he is bad, then I must be good - right? A helpful article, though a long read, is Rethinking "don't blame the victim" - The Psychology of Victimhood .  

Working the tools here and working on myself has reduced the hurt and pain, and brought us closer together. He feels listened to and I don't feel abused. We both feel loved and we both keep working together.

As I worked towards learning about him and his situation, I wound up learning about myself too. The human capacity to heal, our ability to adapt, and how change isn't easy - but it is very possible - if you want it badly enough... .


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John Galt
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2010, 08:50:09 PM »

I have not posted for years but decided to pop in to say hello. Years ago I came to this board really bad and with a wife and 3 young kids. My wife was classic BPD - if that term even exists. I saw no nope at all.

I bounced around this place and found friends, found conflict, saw zero hope and really stood alone in the sense that most everyone ( for valid reasons ) said ''just leave''. This was problematic for me '' cause of the kids". I spent ages here trying to decide and eventually I learned a few good points.

I looked at me and what I was doing wrong. I went to therapy to look inside. I eventually said to my wife that she could go to a lawyer or serious therapy as in '' leave the house and live in a place where she could deal with her issues''. I told her those were her 2 choices , and I really thought only the lawyer was a solution but I was wrong. She choose therapy and it worked. No drugs, just CBT and DBT and home on the weekends.

This is a very short post to only offer hope to anyone who seeks it.
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2010, 10:32:06 PM »

My SO and I have been together for a bit over eight years, and the work we've both done on ourselves and our relationship over the past year is amazing. We are pretty damn happy these days. The thing that has helped her most is DBT, the thing that has helped me most is radical acceptance, and the thing that has helped our relationship most is de-enmeshing.

We were friends before we were lovers, and already had trust when we got involved. I realized early she had more than the PTSD/childhood sexual abuse and general trauma/PMDD diagnosis she came into the relationship with, and we diagnosed her with BPD early. So I was never much effected by the FOG, never thought the things she said when dysregulated were true, never lost my sense of self.

I don't know if she still fits the BPD criteria anymore--she used to be all nine. She used to self harm, attempt suicide, have agoraphobia and anxiety and panic attacks, dissociated regularly, got lost/lose time, cried almost every day, had psychotic breaks, got really angry really easily, couldn't remember what day it was, couldn't work every day, etc etc. But she was always nice, even defferential to me, except sometimes when she was dysregulated or psychotic, which didn't happen too often. And she was in therapy, on meds, sharing her feelings and thoughts with me, through all o it.

So even when things were their worst, the fact that I always knew what was going on with her, and we were always into the cuddling thing, made life seem okay enough to keep at it. I was totally enabling her to live a life with few responsibilities, spent all my time trying to arrange things so as to help her avoid feeling her pain, and it worked for years, was very nice in fact, 'cause we both have the same idea of a good time. But then she started to get meaner and I started to get angrier and it culminated in her suicide attempt, attempt to choke me, my calling 911, and her time in the psych ward--a rock bottom that we'd avoided due to years of enabling and enmeshment. But there we were, and things have been so much better ever since.

She took an intensive DBT course and learned all kinds of tools for handling her emotions. I worked hard on radical acceptance and we both worked on de-enmeshment and validation. We've been in MC since that time, about 15 months now, and during that period, my SO has engaged in almost literally none of the seriously symptomatic behaviors described above. At times it's seemed like magic, how much calmer and more thoughtful she is in the way she expresses herself and handles her emotions. How much more connected she is to me and to herself. It's just so wonderful there are no words for it. And so much of it is due to my pulling back and focusing on myself, just letting her be and not trying to fix everything. And I am still looking for a therapist for myself.

This board has helped a lot--I started posting here during the time when it was getting bad, a year or so before the rock bottom. Seeing parts of myself and my relationship in others here has helped me see my behaviors and stop engaging in the ones I saw others here should so clearly stop engaging in. Looking at people here and all the mistakes and pain, it became clear to me, what I wanted my relationship to be, the ways I needed to act to make it that way. The tools I learned here were many of the same tools my SO learned at the same time in DBT, so it really timed out well.

I have no question that our future will be wonderful. We've made so much progress, there's no way we could go back. I suppose it's possible that as we both continue to grow, we will grow apart, but I doubt it. We're each other's best friends, we've been through so much together and had so many great times even through the pain, that I can't imagine we won't always be in love.

Peacebaby

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Steph
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2010, 09:16:38 AM »

 One thing I noticed as my H got better is that I noticed myself noticing myself... some mild mood swings, some mild depression and a sense of things feeling too calm. It took some effort to move past this.

I suspect the drama filled a need for me and it became addictive... the highs and lows, the always intense stuff, god and bad. I was admittedly a bit taken aback at first, when things were soo stable... it was part of the adjustment and it was a surprise for me, and more uncomfy than I had anticipated.

  Steph
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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2010, 07:34:11 PM »

Yes, we move out of our "comfort zone" of dysfunction - where normal seems weird and scary. Like something is "off" or "not quite right"... .

Kind of like if you normally shop at Wal-Mart, and then suddenly go into a boutique on Rodeo Drive. You feel intimidated and overwhelmed.

Of if your normal restaurant of choice is McDonalds, and someone suddenly takes you out for real fine dinning. You don't know the social etiquette, so your comfort level drops.

These things are outside of your normal behaviors and experiences, so they feel awkward. Stepping away from the chaos and not engaging in the drama feels   wrong somehow... .we feel bad - for not rushing in to rescue them - to make things better - to stop the fight - to patch things up - to walk on eggshells... .

Yes, when we de-emesh, the real growth and change begins - for both parties 
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2010, 09:21:12 PM »

For years I put up with verbal and emotional abuse by my BPDhubby. I came here after our MC told me that she suspected my husband being borderline.

I thought what the heck is borderline? So I looked it up and found this place. We went to therapy together and apart. He seemed to get worse and blamed me for this. I stopped posting here for about 6 months until things started to get really bad at home.

After being back for a little while I started to plan my way out of the relationship. My hubby was getting out of control and I was afraid of one of us getting hurt. The final straw was him attacking me and my dog for NO reason.

One day I took all my stuff and pets and moved out of our house. I was very upset but I couldn't keep going on the way we were.

At first he wanted to divorce but he kept calling me over and over saying he wanted to divide stuff and figure out who gets what.

I didn't talk to him.

Then he called and asked what he could do to fix this. I told him that his abuse was not going to be tolerated and that he was out of control and needed professional help.

Later he told me he made appointments and was commited to getting help for his raging and anger issues regardless if we got back together. I was going to move away to my family and he asked what it would take for me to stay.

I told him that he could move out and I would move back in our home. So he did. We started having dates and I had the house to myself which felt really good.

He went to therapy and a P so he was learning new ways to communicate and to deal with his anger. We both started to take timeouts whenever we needed a break.

I really got serious about learning the tools here. I practiced validation and it started to create a closer connection with my hubby. I made some boundaries and stuck with them. We went through some growing pains. I would panic if his voice raised and he would panic if he thought I would move out again if he raised his voice.

Over time we both started trusting eachother more than ever before. He hasn't done DBT so his symptoms are still there just not destructive to our relationship as much.

I still take timeouts - did one today  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

The tools work. Not allowing anyone to be abusive works. I think the major reason that we are still married is because I was willing to be alone and I took that chance. On his end he was given a wake up call and was willing to admit the way he dealt with his anger was not ok and he looked for help to change. Things are not perfect but life is much happier for both of us.
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2010, 01:29:26 PM »

I'm not sure if I can call my relationship a "success" yet but it definitely feels successful at this point in time.

My BF is not cured and is not going through any type of therapy to lead him there, but great improvements have been made in our relationship. He is what I would describe as high functioning... .he appears strong and stable to the rest of the world; only those close to him see the unstable side, he doesn't self harm, has never been suicidal as far as I know, doesn't drink or use drugs, has never been physically violent towards me, and for the most part is the "leader" in our home.

He does show abandonment issues, is quick to anger, has raged, but has not done it in about 6 months, has very black and white thinking, and bouts of depression... .along with a few other minor traits.

I think the thing that has helped our relationship the most was me educating myself about BPD, the why's behind it, how he must be feeling, and mostly, importantly, what I can do to help him. I have had to learn to take care of myself, realize not to personalize things and understand that most of the time when he gets angry it has nothing whatsoever to do with me. I've learned to accept the way he feels, learned to validate those feelings, which in turn has helped him to work through those feelings on his own. I've learned to not defend myself, no matter how hard it is at times, yet set boundaries regarding how I will be treated.

For those of you who may be reading this and are new, I was skeptical at first... .validate the crazy statements they make? not defend myself? I felt it would just give him permission to keep treating me bad. But it doesn't if it is done in the right manner and you keep your boundaries. The tools on here really do make a difference.

We're still a work in progress. I know he will get dysregulated again... .probably in the next week... .maybe more than once or twice... .but I can now deal with it, keep my peace of mind, and the periods seem to get shorter and shorter. I think more than anything, learning how to better communicate with my BF has built a foundation of trust between he and I. I feel its helped to build a loving and trusting environment when he can feel more secure, which helps him deal with abandonment and anger issues much better.

Good luck to everyone out there!
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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2010, 09:06:42 PM »

BOy i am glad this is here so i don't have to keep repeating my self...

 my story started 12 and a half years ago, i married my husband, and things were really bad, rages were three times a week and never ending, he verbally abused me kept me captive in my own home, it was horrible... :'( :'(

Then we went through a therapudic separation, we stayed separated a year, during this time no dating anyone else, we went back out dating  eachother

we each went to theropy, and through ,his Therapist i found out he had a personality disorder, through my therapist i found out about BPD, i read books and learned the coping skills, my feelings were releived to know there was a actual problem.

ok now give him meds and let's go on...

well that didn't work, i had to learn to take care of me, and learn boundaries and ways to communicate.

wasn't easy at first but adventually his rages decreased he got back into AA which really helped, i went to alanon which also helped. and now 12 years later i came on here two years ago his rages were every four months i was ok with this, then i went back into reinforcing my boundaries using the tools and skills, and now rages are like far and few in between he had one a month ago but that was the first three day rage in over a year, he rants but that even lessened i started just leaving early in the morning when they started he learned this wasn't acceptable, and those have even decreased. all due to the tools my husband is undiagnoised, and has no clue about the BPD disorder, my kids grew up learning the tools as well but not the disorder one of my kids know only because she asked about it. found one of my books.  but my husband i can laugh now and actually talk and so for me i see this as a success story

does he still have BPD oh yea... but every day i see him changing and improving i just wish he knew this... .
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2010, 01:57:03 AM »

Hello to all... .I haven't posted in a while, and tonight I was sitting here thinking that I have some really positive things to say about my SO w/BPD... .I thought about the fact that I rarely see positive things said here, so I decided it was time for me to come post something.  First, I would like to say WTG Steph on this thread.  I was pleasantly surprised to see it!   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

I have lived with my SO for 15 months now.  There are so many differences in her from when she first told me about BPD and sent me to this site to help me understand to today!  I am not going to sit here and say we haven't had our down times... .but I am very happy to say they are FEW and FAR between now!  Sometimes I think that those who suffer from BPD just needs someone to WANT to understand... .because as we all know... .those of us that do not suffer from this, truly have no REAL grasp of what these individuals deal with on a daily basis.  What I do know is... .I have watched my SO go from every other day mood swings to possibly months in between them.  Now, I would like to clarify one thing... .when I say mood swings, I am not talking bout rages.  We went through a couple of those in the beginning and that was when I got REALLY confused and she sent me here... .to learn... .I can honestly say... .I don't remember the last "rage" she had.  She has had plenty of reasons to do so at times... .which she usually retreats to her room to calm down... .used to when she would retreat she may not come out til the next day.  I have noticed that now, not only does she come out usually in less than an hour... .but she also apoligizes to anyone involved in the mood swing.  Most of the time it is just me, but there is the ocasional time that it also involves my son.  Which let me tell u... .if I didnt know better I would think I have BPD occasionally dealing with the teenager.   ;p   I have watched her become much more patient with him... .and the things teenagers do these days... .she is now a GREAT parent figure in his life and a wonderful influence. 

One thing that bothers me a lot is when these individuals do so much hard work to get to where they are now... .to try to overcome these things that keep them feeling negative and such... .and people do not give the credit where credit is due.  I have had people tell me my SO is doing so much better now and they thank me... .I tell them, it isn't me... .she is doing this... .she is making the correct decisions to overcome that mood swing... .overcome that depression... .and to live life from day to day in a more positive way!  I don't make these decisions for her... .She has and continues to do an awesome job turning the negativity into a positive thing.
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2010, 08:01:16 AM »

I came to this site in crisis, like most people. Confused but willing to learn. Today ten months later life is 100% better. I set boundries, I quit enableing, I valadated when I could. I quit fighting and quit stepping into the traps she set for me. She has not raged since January, we are closer than ever. I know she has a mental illness that goes untreated, but today the effects don't get to me. Our home enviroment is peaceful, the kids and I are happy again. Sex life is back. Being friends is back. I owe it all to this site and the many hours of time people wrote to me and explained to me how to work the program.
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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2010, 03:12:51 PM »

Quite right. Some BPD features that meet the criteria resolves themselves with no therapy at all but this may take a while. Certainly, DBT, CBT or pschoanalysis have all helped to not just manage but HEAL the disorder.
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« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2010, 11:42:40 AM »

How nice is this post!

It makes me happy to read.

Sure there is hope, I am a living example of it as an ex-BPD'er.

What helped...

Hmm...

That my beloved ones stayed by my side, every single escalation.

My threatment (the most important one, to let me see myself and notice my problems)

And I guess what is the second important one but thats 100% related to the 2 above...

Myself Smiling (click to insert in post)

Stay positive how difficult it is sometimes , cause there is hope, and the beloved BPDers CAN heal Smiling (click to insert in post) I am one of the 60 recovered BPD'ers in Holland.


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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2010, 12:31:56 PM »

We are the happy stories.  By strengthening our self worth and taking care of ourselves we are successful.  Whether we remain with our partners or not... .we understand that it is up to ourselves to define our own value.

We are successful when we choose to stop our part in their dysfunction...
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2010, 12:45:25 PM »

I would tentatively submit that my story is happy.  I started posting about three years ago and for a long time, I was very upset and confused about what was happening in my relationship and I came to this site to learn and get help.   My fiance' (high functioning BPD/NPD traits, cyclothymia, generalized anxiety disorder) has been in DBT for over a year now, and the last 11 months has been... .I would say... .happy and normal.   He has been on Lexapro for about three years and that has always been helpful to him... .but the DBT made the most difference.  I am tentative, because it's only been a year without the classic borderline crazy-making stuff... .but I feel very positive and very grateful.  Oh, and I also do my own therapy too and have been nailed a number of times on this board for my 'own crap' that I bring to the table... .I think that is part of the journey and it cannot be avoided.    I don't think we would have done as well if I wansn't working on my own stuff.
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« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2010, 06:07:33 PM »

This thread has helped me to see something about myself and why I friended a male uBPD even though I have a stable marriage.  I missed the crisis, the stimulation of all the drama, which is what I grew up with.  Indeed, this was me lapsing back into old scripted patterns without me even realizing it until it had already happened!  And I see now that it was a way for me to avoid some personal issues of my own (moving to a new town and establishing myself with new friends and putting down new roots).  Instead I allowed myself to develop a relationship with uBPD friend.  It was a quick fix and allowed me not to feel the discomfort of living in a new place, but instead had me obsessing over the ups and downs of my uBPD friend.  Clear as a bell now!  One thing is for sure.  There are no short cuts in life, even though the unhealthy part of me sure tried to see if there was one!
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« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2010, 06:25:13 PM »

I would tentatively submit that my story is happy.  I started posting about three years ago and for a long time, I was very upset and confused about what was happening in my relationship and I came to this site to learn and get help.   My fiance' (high functioning BPD/NPD traits, cyclothymia, generalized anxiety disorder) has been in DBT for over a year now, and the last 11 months has been... .I would say... .happy and normal.   He has been on Lexapro for about three years and that has always been helpful to him... .but the DBT made the most difference.  I am tentative, because it's only been a year without the classic borderline crazy-making stuff... .but I feel very positive and very grateful.  Oh, and I also do my own therapy too and have been nailed a number of times on this board for my 'own crap' that I bring to the table... .I think that is part of the journey and it cannot be avoided.    I don't think we would have done as well if I wansn't working on my own stuff.

that is good to hear. 
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« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2010, 02:59:02 PM »

I never thought I'd have anything positive to say in terms of success with my BPDh.  He's been doing DBT for about 6 months, every other week of individual therapy only.  He's been on different meds for anxiety disorder, depression and ADHD for about 9 months.  Within the last few weeks he has suddenly been more present in the family, not just spending time but being emotionally present.  He's almost like he used to be 15 years ago before his disorders began taking over his (and our) life.  He has been able to listen to me, staying present emotionally and not walking out.  But here's the biggest success to date:  I told him that when I share my perspective or feelings about a behavior of his, and this doesn't match the "facts" in his head, he dismisses and degrades me.  Then he will do the behavior more.  When I get upset or set a boundary, it still doesn't match his "reality", his anxiety level is ramped up, and he repeats the behavior until he becomes abusive and I have to walk away.  I have tried to tell him this for a LONG time.  THIS time, he responded that he hears my fears and that this is part of his "disability", as he calls it, and he is working on it.  He said he's working at staying present more to hear my feelings, whether or not they match his "reality."  He also said he's willing to keep working on this until he's better, doing whatever it takes to repair our marriage.  It seems that this kind of recognition of his own disorder is really huge!  I've been dealing with his illness for SO long, I'm finding it hard to be excited about this step.  In talking to my H I've been supportive and encouraging.  But the reality is, I sure don't trust this!  If he can maintain this new level of functioning over time, perhaps I'll get there.  Regardless of how our marriage works out or not, I think this is a major success for him.  Who knew?   Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2010, 11:59:40 AM »

Here are a couple of threads from an older member (John Galt) who no longer visits regularly:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=112992.msg1110775#msg1110775


https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=113057.msg1111314#msg1111314
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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2010, 12:34:08 PM »

Thanks much for this thread! 

When I first became serious with my DH and discovered that his ex wife had BPD, I looked hard for success stories of POST divorce relationships with people diagnosed with BPD.  I knew his ex (not well) before they split up, and she seemed remarkably open to me, though occasionally raging.  I have worked with many mentally ill people, and do not get my buttons pushed as easily as some by crazy stuff, and also have good boundaries.  I had high hopes.  They have not been realized. 

I share the experience of the BPD in my life (my "ex-wife in-law" that sometimes it seems all she needs is someone to WANT to understand her, someone to love her for who she is.  The biggest success stories here seem to be stories in which people were truly great mates for each other, with the exception of the BPD issue... .I know many people stay with a partner for religious reasons, but it seems that many here stayed due to real love and friendship.  This is why my partner and I are together.  We are deep, true friends.  With his ex, that was not the case.  He became involved for the drama, and they got pregnant a few months in, and told him when he tried to break up after a violent spell.  They were never really friends, but he stayed for 7 years "for the kids."  He did love her, but never had the friendship or skills to create boundaries or to use "non-violent communication skills" like Randi Krieger's. 

He is now quite honest about the ways that his reactions to her and his personality contributed to her worst BPD rages.  I think the bottom line, though, was that they really did not have that "partnership/friendship/soulmate" connection so many of you seem to have that makes learning these skills seem worth it. 

I really think the BPD in our life has a lot of potential.  She refuses to accept diagnosis and is alcoholic, on the downside.  On the upside, she always responds positively to my genuine caring about her, even when she is hatefully attacking me.  She will always hug back.  She has a warm, loving side that can really be accessed even in the worst times.  She does not cut or self-harm.  She is able to maintain a few (one or two) good friends.  She has strong social values and works to help the world in lots of good ways.  She loves her kids, though she is very self-absorbed and can be negligent and emotionally abusive and manipulative to the extreme, and is very focused on alienating them from their dad. 

All this said, I wish that there were more examples of successful separation, successful post-divorce relationships.  Not just tolerance, but real care.  Part of the problem here is the terrible devastation of abandonment for the BPD sufferer--even when she leaves first.  Part of the issue is that while the BPD person in my life always responds to loving/understanding/compassionate actions and statements in the moment, she forgets about this feeling right away and it turns into her old story--"everyone hates me, screw them!"  I would have to be telling her she is okay with me, even crazy, every five minutes for that feeling to have any lasting impressoin--and I would not have that kind of energy for even a romantic partner, much less my partner's ex wife! 

But I can see that if my current mate became mentally ill, I would do everything in my power to work through that with him (as I do with issues that have developed in the past 3 years of our relationship), because I love him and because the things I need to do inside me to make it all work are things I want to do anyway, and he supports me in that. 

More power to you all!  I know I am not supposed to post on this board, but sometimes I feel alone in my sense that the BPD person in my life is really a beautiful soul--someone that is VERY hard for me to deal with, someone who may never seek treatment, someone who may mostly hate me and do her best to destroy me due to my role in her and her kids' and ex husband's lives... .but someone who STILL can really hear it when I tell her I love her for who she is, and someone who can genuinely tell me the same. 

I really see her as a success story... .he relationships are mess, her kids are emotionally scrambled... .but here is a woman who was beaten senseless by mom, abandoned at 2 years old by dad, and sexually abused by her mom's BFs until she became a teen... .and she 1) Does not physically abuse her kids; 2) has never officially objected to their dad having 50% custody, though she has tried to alienate the kids from him constantly and tells them she will take them away from daddy, but has never tried; 3) has two kids who really do feel loved by her... .fearful about her leaving or dying or freaking out, yes... .but loved.  This is a woman who took in unimaginable pain and somehow turned it into a lot of love.  Lots of rage, anger, meanness, ugly emotional manipulation, yes... .but also a lot of love, forgiveness, and MUCH better parenting than she was given.  She is a difficult part of my life, and I feel very angry at times about how she treats the kids and my husband; I love them, and see the pain that her untreated BPD causes in their lives. 

But ultimately, she is in some ways a hero.  And whatever pain her choice not to treat her BPD and her parents' choices to hurt her causes me, her kids, or her ex husband, it causes her much more.  I hope she can find a partner who can be there for her in the way you all have been there for yours; and who she feels the kind of love for that makes her be able to risk seeking therapy. 
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« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2010, 04:54:23 AM »

What is your story of recovery? What has helped you? Your loved one? Your relationship? What challenges have you experienced along the way? What are your hopes for the future?

I think i can legitimately post here ... .I came across this thread again recently and realised things have become a success for us, there are still issues, dBPDh's recovery has got a way to go still but he has come a long way.

We've been together five years, married for four. What helped us, i think, is that i have grown up with a mentally ill parent (who, thirty years later is still happily married to my mother) and as a result of my mother's work (health care field) and my own experiences, nothing he's shown has ever been a surprise, really. For me, it shows (as this site demonstrates) that information is empowering.

From my experiences, i've also been aware of the holistic element of recovery; dBPDh has benefited incredibly from eating healthily (he previously had a terrible diet) and improved sleep hygiene. He was suspicious to begin with but realises that a mind can only work well when it's got a healthy body helping it.

Recovery has been helped by several things, not just his DBT. His moving several hundred miles with me back to my hometown, and so, away from the areas he has previously lived in and suffered abuse in, has helped. That isn't to advocate running away from problems, but that distance helps. His nightmares and panic attacks reduced when there was a tangible distance from those who had hurt him.

I try not to think of myself as a carer but as balancing the need to be his guardian (of sorts) and cracking the whip. It's a balance that has benefited him. Being firm (so boundaries, in a sense) has also been a part of what has helped; at one point, dBPDh had issues with alcohol and (to cut a long story short), i told him he could carry on drinking if he wanted, but he would not longer be a part of our family. He didn't drink, after that, for almost a year and then he initiated discussion about alcohol. We eventually came to a compromise and, bless him, he always asks if it's okay for him to have a drink (as we had previously discussed) and most importantly listens when i suggest another day might be better, or another week etc.

Our biggest challenge was earlier this year (February, i think?) where i was wondering whether or not to continue with our relationship. The result was a very, very intense week of discussion between dBPDh and i; it was distressing at time but, in the end, it was important for us. My concerns had been (again, to cut a long story short) that whilst i loved him dearly, i wasn't going to wait indefinitely for improvement. The amazing thing was that my husband listened but importantly, as we talked, i had to be very careful with what i said. It meant talking slowly and in black and white terms, preventing him from construing anything otherwise. It was a very big case of cracking the whip and dBPDh being brave but it worked, he has coped with changes that had previously scared him and prefers things as they are now.

We have also had a lot of fun with medication and he is now happy on an anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety med (diazepam) and sleeping tablets. It's a heavy regime and the anti-depressant is a new development but works very well with the anti-psychotic and relieves some of the descending fog that comes with anti-psychotic meds. The diazepam has been important to him, he gets a very small number each month (to prevent addiction) and they help him calm down in those moments when he would otherwise have a meltdown that would result in very destructive behaviour and gives him the time to get away from the stress and/or to cope with it using his DBT skills. The sleeping tablets are, in a way, holistic too; with a properly rested body, his mind is much better equiped to cope.

So that's us, for the moment. I would like to think that in two or three years time, he may even be free of the diagnosis or at least close to that point. But who knows what will come; we hope for a good future, we don't expect it.
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« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2010, 01:43:02 PM »

I won't try to predict our future ... My partner and I have been together for about 3 years ... .the first 2 years where good and then he became very dysregulated ... .shortly after he was dx with BPD ... .

The first six months after the dx were HARD ... .on both of us ... .The actions leading to his dx were very hurtful to both of us individuall and our relationship ... .a lot of trust was destroyed ... .

The last couple of months things have very much improved ... .

Here is why I think they have ... .

1. I don't get all worked  up over his stuff anymore ... .He want's to break up, I just go with it ... .It will change ... .

2. I suck at validation so I go about it differently ... .When I know something is wrong I drag it out of him and we talk about the issue head on

3. We were in couples therapy for about 4 months to start the discussion and he continues to see his individual therapist

4. My SO is aware and accepts his BPD ... .Doesn't mean he likes it ... In fact he hates having it ... .But he doesn't hide from it either ... .Even if the BPD gets the upper hand for a couple of days, when he calms down he analyzes what happens and takes responsibility ... .

5. My SO isn't verbally or physically abusive

So do we have a success story?

I don't know ...

Have things improved? Yes ... .But is it a "perfect" relationship? No and it never will be ... .But then nothing is ... .

Is my SO more self aware? Yes and that, more than anything else has helped things to improve

For myself, personally, in all this the best thing I did was to just leave stuff alone and not get caught up in his craziness ... .


I have no idea what will happen in a year for us ... .But I can see improvements today ... .
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« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2010, 12:56:31 AM »

It's been years since I last visited and posted on this site. And I'm happy to say I'm still with my BPD partner who also became my wife about a year ago. To recap, our relationship started off with a bang and almost identical to one of the articles posted on this site ("How a Borderline Personality Disorder Love Relationship Evolves". Rages occurred at least once or twice a week and even became physical a couple times, including once where I had to throw her out of the house to keep her from attacking me. But I knew early on things weren't "normal" with her, and that her anger stemmed from something deeper than anything I did to her. One of our biggest issues was her witnessing me looking at another woman early on in our relationship, something that still bothers her a great deal today. Her sexually abusive father used to let her in on all his disgusting sexual thoughts about women--who he'd like to have sex with, who he is having sex with (while cheating on her mother)--so she never grew up with a healthy understanding of male sexuality. To her, if I find another woman attractive that means she's not good enough.

She's been in therapy for several years now, starting first with DBT and now entering CBT/PTSD. Her disorders include BPD, PTSD, DID, OCD, eating, and other anxiety disorders. She's been declared permanently disabled.

I've learned a LOT about mental illness in our 5 years being together. I've practiced the PUVAS skill, but more than anything I've realized that when she's really upset or angry she's actually just extremely hurt and overwhelmed with emotion much like a child. Validating her feelings and being sympathetic can immediately disarm her, as there's almost no point in trying to be logical (i.e. Wise Mind) when her emotions are in motion.

One of the biggest frustrations I've always had is getting enough time to myself. I work a regular 40 hour week and she often sits home alone with her emotions. By the time I get home she wants my attention because it makes her feel better. This also tends to get worse for her as the day progresses. When things are really bad, this means I spend the majority of the night with her, listening to her talk about her feelings or telling her why I love her. It can be difficult to get even an hour or two to myself which I desperately need in order to unwind and be healthy, and this can sometimes spark arguments because my patience eventually runs thin.

Since she has started PTSD therapy things have really regressed as we were warned. Two suicide attempts in the past month and two emergency room visits. One attempt was made during a remote camping trip where I had to force her to throw up pills, all the while trying to hide the situation from our friends. Needless to say you don't exactly feel refreshed after a vacation like that. And it was all due to her obsessive thoughts about how many other women I must have gone camping with before her (i.e. feelings of worthlessness).

But she has improved considerably since the start of our relationship. Arguments no longer turn into extreme rages. She doesn't demonize me as often or dissociate as much. This has helped the relationship a lot, but there's plenty more work ahead as we're still learning, especially about her DID and her personas. DID causes her to forget things and past events, especially arguments and difficult days or suicide attempts. This explains why she can wake up the next day after a dysfunctional night and not even remember it happening. Unfortunately this has also had a negative effect on some of her friendships, as other people are less understanding when they're treated unfairly during one of her disordered episodes that she can't even recall.

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« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2010, 10:08:34 PM »

I am happy to say much progress has been made since I first arrived here.  Much progress has been made in just the last 9 months.  There has not been any rages in our house for months now.  We are talking constructively and the largest problem for us has been dealt with.   We will most likely always have some problems to be dealt with but at least we can do so much better now.  There has been peace and contentment not from avoidance but from true problem solving and working together.
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« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2010, 12:01:27 PM »

Hi guys,

I would really like to say happy and relieved I am to read your success stories.

Since me and my partner ended our r/ship after a turbulent and crazy year, it was only then that I decided to do some research and I found out about BPD, and everything clicked in to place. Me and my uBPD ex are currently spending some time apart to focus on our own lives and have arranged to meet up in December to maybe talk about trying again.

I don't know if he will want to, as far as he is concerned I spent the year 'hurting' him so badly that he doesn't trust me anymore (and I'm sure you are all aware that I did nothing to intentionally hurt him, a great phrase is that i occasionally fell off the insane and illogical pedestal he had placed me on which of course meant that I didn't love him and that I was the enemy)

As far as I'm concerned, since I found out about BPD, I am going to do everything I can to learn and understand what they go through, so that I can use the tools to keep us both from hurting each other and being able to live in peace and happiness. There is nothing I want more in the world than to be with my soulmate again.

I just hope he gives me that chance.

The reason I am posting on here is that during my research so far, I have come across so many sites and help for 'leaving a partner with BPD', there is waaaaaaaaaaay more info on how to leave than how to stay, and I was starting to worry that maybe its just to hard.

Your stories have given me hope, and I thank you all so much for allowing me and others to share them. 
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« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2010, 12:16:04 PM »

I think the major reason that we are still married is because I was willing to be alone and I took that chance. On his end he was given a wake up call and was willing to admit the way he dealt with his anger was not ok and he looked for help to change. Things are not perfect but life is much happier for both of us.

This is my experience as well.  After my BPDFH's brain cancer was found, and after he stopped chemo (he actually quit, long story... .ugh, noncompliance!), he wanted to be on another "break" from the relationship - this was 3 years in, after many other breaks - and I put my foot down. I said "Fine, but I'm going to see other people too this time."  Having the tables turned really made him see what life was like without me around.  I didn't like being without him either, and we came back together and were much happier after that.
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« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2010, 05:40:42 PM »

Hi. I've been with my partner for nearly 2 years. She is has been on medication and been doing therapy since before we met. She has made so much progress over the past year. The first year of our relationship was the hardest. I was away on a family holiday when she texted me to say she was down and was stood on a motorway bridge. I immediately got in touch with her parents and told them where she was. They went and got her and she was put on a mental ward. When I got back from holiday the first thing I did was go to see her. She seems fine and she was due to be released the next day. But a few hours after my visit her mum visited her and they ended up arguing. She left the ward and went missing.

Me and her mother drove around looking for her for a few hours when we came to a road blocked by police and ambulances. We immediately knew it was her. A police officer confirmed she had been knocked down by a car and we followed the ambulance to the hospital. My initial thoughts were, she's dead or she's a vegetable. I was inconsolable. I could hear her cries of pain through a door, as I was not allowed to see her until they had made an initial examination. When we were allowed in she was covered in blood and vomit, and was strapped down as she was thrashing around from all the pain. She didn't even know i was there. I tried to comfort her, telling her I was there, but she was in too much pain. She was sedated and taken away for an x ray to check for internal damage, or bleeding. 2 hours we waited anxiously for the results. All clear. She had miraculously survived a car accident with only bruises and cuts. A miracle! I spent the night in hospital with her. Ignoring the nurses telling me I couldn't sleep on the bed with her. I had nearly lost her, I wasn't going to let her go.

It was the hardest thing I've ever had to go through. I don't think I even realised myself until recently how much that night has effected me. I sometimes get flashbacks about it and cry. I came so close to losing her. But, a year down the line and she has decided she wants to live, she hasn't cut in almost a year. I'm so proud of her. She says she did it all for me, but I know how much hard work and determination it takes to do what she has achieved in such a short space of time. I'm extremely lucky as I know a lot of partners of BPD sufferers are abused physically or verbally,  but my girlfriend is the gentlest person I know. And the most honest. She never lies. If i ask her something she will always tell me the truth. We have a fantastic, affectionate relationship. I know she is my soul mate and I will be with her forever. I will stand by her because I know what we have is worth everything and I wont lose her again.
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« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2010, 03:55:14 PM »

My uPBDfh and I had a really good evening last night!  He just got a new job (car sales) and had a rough day at work, plus he was struggling with his father's distancing and in general he wanted to talk.  He had been telling me about it when I was on my way home from work, but had to go since his dad was calling him.

I told him I had to stop at the library, then I'd be home.  I did, and when I got in I greeted him and the dog, and held the cat for a while, and everything seemed okay.  Then he got out his computer, and I asked if I could tell him more about my trip to the dentists earlier, and he said I could.  So I was talking, and he was quiet.  After I'd finished, he was still quiet for a while, so I kept asking if things were okay, and got a non-committal response from him.

He went to lay down in the bedroom then, in the way that he does when he's upset, and I went and tried to ask him to talk.  He wouldn't.  I got angry, and left the room to take out the trash.  After the trash I felt a bit calmer and decided to try again.  I could tell he was in more distress now, so I asked if I could sit by him on the bed and read.  And once I did, he eventually did open up to me.  Turns out he had wanted to tell me more about my day, but apparently I just "never stop talking" and he didn't know how to get a word in.  So when I didn't ask him about his story, he got upset because I was telling mine, and since I didn't remedy the situation that's when he went into the bedroom.

We discussed this and both agreed to try to express ourselves more openly.  I asked if it would help to have a stick or another object that was the "speaking stick", and if he needed to talk he could hold it up and I'd know he had something to say.  He's considering this idea, though he says his family used to try that when he was a teenager and wouldn't listen (literally would not listen even when his parents had the speaking stick), so I can tell there might be some resistance.

But!  We made progress.  I didn't give in to withdrawal or anger, I waited him out and was patient and he actually talked to me.  There was no blow-up.  We were able to go to dinner with his dad and have a nice time, and then went and got a Wii later in the evening and played it and had a great time!

If every time he has an issue things can go this way, we are on our way to great times.   Smiling (click to insert in post)
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