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Family Court Strategies: When Your Partner Has BPD OR NPD Traits. Practicing lawyer, Senior Family Mediator, and former Licensed Clinical Social Worker with twelve years’ experience and an expert on navigating the Family Court process.
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Author Topic: Is this... borderline?  (Read 1182 times)
Weird Fishes
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« on: October 02, 2011, 01:27:32 PM »

So I ended up on bpdfamily in an attempt to deal with my raging hate-crush on my boyfriend's pill of an ex.  I am also fascinated by the disorder, which was the first time I'd really delved into psychological issues of any kind.

Since then, I've learned to identify likely BPD/NPD from miles away (they are everywhere, apparently... .).  But, as all the red flag posts show, sometimes it's hard to see the forest when you're in the trees. 

Issue at hand: I've been looking back at my very first relationship with a lot of questions.  Many of the person's behaviors seem BPD, but I am not fully feeling it, and I don't know enough about psychology to categorize him.  Perhaps you lovely lot can confirm, or steer me in a helpful direction.

Personal background: I am an adult child of an alcoholic/dysfunctional family.  I have codependency issues for days.  I realize how much that contributed to this situation and how I allowed myself to be a victim.

All this happened several years ago.  Obviously I am not proud of it and have a lot of issues to contend with.  At the bottom of the post is a summary; scroll down if you don't wish to read my rambling.

The person in question was my first relationship, first everything.  He was much older than I was and in a position of influence.  He was also married with children.  I idolized him, as did my peers.  We had scads in common. 

We knew each other for two years without any hint of attraction, before he suddenly approached me, not long after his children were born. 

He claimed that his wife was cruel, sociopathic, hated him.  But he couldn't leave because "of the kids"  That she had "bullied" him into having children (many years into the marriage).  Now having to take care of the children (whom he loved ever so much) was ruining his life. He had tried to kill himself, got put in a psych ward, and his wife was so cruel about it! And I, being so naive, so understanding, so accustomed to unacceptable behavior and so eager to help someone I admired so much, bought all this at face value.  He needed me, and I'd be a bad person if I refused, right?

I was "wonderful" and he "loved me" immediately.  He got upset because I did not tell him I loved him within a week of the relationship. 

It was ok for him to have this relationship, he said, because his therapist approved.  He "couldn't get his emotional needs met at home", so he was entitled.

I told no one.

This continued for three years.  There was a lot of "sit around and be sad about his life" time.  His job (3 days a week maximum, made over 50 grand, was really good at it, and where he was absolutely adored by everyone) was so "unsustainable".  When he had to take over childrearing duties so his wife could pursue her interests or work, it was the worst thing that could happen to him.  His artwork was not in big museums around the world.  Everyone wanted a piece of him.  He was so trapped with his horrible wife.  Etc, etc.

I was his savior.  He "needed this relationship".  I was the only thing keeping him alive.  He needed to stay alive to take care of his children.  Etc.

The first big blowup was maybe a year in.  I had planned a weekend with my friends.  I was out with them, he got into a fight w/wife, called me up.  When I did not immediately abandon my friends to go find him, I got called so many names.  I blamed myself for being so horrible.  More followed as I started to feel trapped and began drifting away from him.  Once I took public transportation for two hours at night to get to him because he was vaguely threatening suicide.  I had to break into the apartment and found him passed out on the floor.  He had written me a letter: "**ck you you selfish c***"  hundreds of times on a sheet of paper.  The next morning he became embarrassed that he had done that, and overjoyed that I had "come to save him" the night before.  The next day, for no apparent reason, he sent me the letter. 

I was always selfish, selfish and weak.  Too weak to provide him the "unconditional love" that he needed.  I never retaliated to his attacks or defended myself.

Physically I hated it.  I was initially curious about the whole thing, but it made me sick to my stomach with guilt and I was not physically attracted to him.  But he insisted that he had to because "it was the only way to feel close to me".  And if we couldn't do that, then he could never see me again!  I would get upset and cry sometimes, and he would get upset, often spiraling into a depression.  It was never explicitly said, but the chain was still made very clear: If you do not do this,  I can never see you again.  If I never see you again, I will kill myself.  And if I kill myself, I will be abandoning my children. 

Long story short, he began to be in and out of psych wards more often as I withdrew from him.  Finally, I told someone about the whole deal, immediately saw how CRAZY it was, and told him I would no longer let him touch me.  I was "friends" with him-talking to him on the phone only-until one day he started harassing me at work.  I was fed up and went NC.  He made one or two halfhearted drama suicide attempts and went in hospital again before he finally succeeded in killing himself-texting me all the while, blaming me while he did it.

Later I found out he was, not surprisingly, carrying on similar relationships with at least two other young women at the same time.  One was an alcoholic mess; the other I don't know much about.   

So, in a nutshell, BPD-esque behaviors:

-panic when faced with abandonment;

-entitlement;

-mood swings (best to the worst), rages (would sometimes rage at people on the street over minor incidents)

-suicide attempts, threats, occasional bodily harm

-manipulation, targeting emotionally messed up women who looked up to him,

-a void of need, needed a lot of validation,

Things that don't fit?:

-Good at job, well-liked, no "enemies", large social group.

-some black and white thinking, had a fairly stable sense of identity, consistent set of interests and opinions;

-rages were not as frequent as I would associate with BPD

-frequently expressed sorrow and apologized for his behavior

He was seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist and was on antidepressants (often used these as excuses for bad behavior-he was "unwell" but "trying to get better"... .he would pull this as he was being abusive) but I don't really know enough to be able to figure out what was going with him.  He was very depressed.  Was he some category of NPD?  Bipolar?  High-functioning BPD? 

Any insight is appreciated.  I know what I did wrong and why on my end; I am trying to figure out what was going on in the other end.
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Willy
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2011, 02:08:48 PM »

So, in a nutshell, BPD-esque behaviors:

-panic when faced with abandonment;

-entitlement;

-mood swings (best to the worst), rages (would sometimes rage at people on the street over minor incidents)

-suicide attempts, threats, occasional bodily harm

-manipulation, targeting emotionally messed up women who looked up to him,

-a void of need, needed a lot of validation,

Things that don't fit?:

-Good at job, well-liked, no "enemies", large social group.

-some black and white thinking, had a fairly stable sense of identity, consistent set of interests and opinions;

-rages were not as frequent as I would associate with BPD

-frequently expressed sorrow and apologized for his behavior

This all from my armchair. But the last two points and the good job could indicate a high functioning BPD waif.
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ItsAboutTime
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2011, 02:52:47 PM »

Also armchair quater-backing here... .

I immediately recognized something early on in your description that would have been a huge red flag for me.

"We knew each other for two years without any hint of attraction, before he suddenly approached me, not long after his children were born."    |>

That's it right there. I think it's another form of PTSD and whether it has a name or not I don't know so I'll just call it 'post-traumatic-stress-after-my-sexy-lover-suddenly -became-a-mother-and-no-longer-a-sex-object.'  He no longer saw her as a sexual partner, all he sees is her changing shtty diapers, popping bottles in crying mouths, and looking as tired and un-sexy as any woman could look.

For a normal man, having a child come into their lives is a wonderful thing, they embrace the baby, they bond, they help willingly in their care. They're understanding and realize that their wife is going to be tired and stressed and will need their support.

Now on the other hand, a self-centered man such as your ex would feel they've been cheated out of something, that they no longer have the sexy wife that is available to them and only to them physically.  Basically, he felt trapped. He couldn't leave because of the children and he hated to stay because he had a wife that changed and became someone he no longer desired sexually. He resented her for 'bullying' him into having children at all.

I don't think he was BPD at all, but his behavior is very typical of NPD. I have been with a NPD boyfriend a few year ago and this is classic NPD behavior. When the NPD begins to age and lose their looks, that's when things get really bad for them. They go through extreme depression because they've burned all their bridges in past relationships and future relationship options are narrowing for them. Many of them become suicidal.  It's good that you recognize the mistakes you've made so you'll never repeat them again with another toxic relationship as that one was.

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FinalLee
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2011, 03:03:53 PM »

Also armchairing, my first reaction was NPD rather than BPD.
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2011, 07:44:50 PM »

Excerpt
He was very depressed.  Was he some category of NPD?  Bipolar?  High-functioning BPD?  

It's Borderline with Unipolar. Narcissists don't collapse their ego functions into submissiveness- rather, they dominate.

Excerpt
He claimed that his wife was cruel, sociopathic, hated him.

Borderlines have subjugation fantasies, narcissists do not. Borderlines expect their partners to parent them cruelly and abandon them. Narcissists do not.

Narcissists expand in partnership and in family, Borderlines contract. And the contraction makes them respond in a clinging and desperate attempts to fuse to others so that the Borderline is absorbed intrapsychically to play out their persecution complex- not the other way around like a Narcissist who is the center of the Universe with others revolving around him. Narcissists subsume- but they don't allow or even overvalue the bonding agent. An over-reliance on the source as overvalued causes a narcissistic injury to their ego- Narcissists stiff arm people and keep them at arms length in order to protect themselves. If things look weak in the loyalty department of the object they desire, they devalue that source of narcissistic supply (attention) and discard them- never to look back again unless the supply revitalizes them in mirroring their greatness again.

Borderlines are submissive. Borderline is a persecution complex. Borderline is a deficient sense of self. The appearance of a Man that is "Good at job, well-liked, no "enemies", large social group." is a Borderline in detached self protector mode. The detached self protector can appear normal and well liked but it is the private World that matters. The private World involves impulse and despair and these are not the outcome of a failure of Narcissistic pride.
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diotima
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2011, 08:18:59 PM »

Excerpt
If things look weak in the loyalty department of the object they desire, they devalue that source of narcissistic supply (attention) and discard them- never to look back again unless the supply revitalizes them in mirroring their greatness again.

I agree with your basic distinction between BPD and N. I quoted the above because a hi-functioning BPD with N traits will do this too--although it is complicated because of the persecution/submission. There may also be a gender difference here (sometimes--no generalizations being made). My ex is definitely a BPD but he fancies himself as an N, so to speak. My ex will look back, unlike a hard-core N (tentatively). Otherwise, the description is apt.

Diotima
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Weird Fishes
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2011, 08:23:25 PM »

First off, thank you everyone for reading my drama dump.  I have told very few people about this so making this post was cathartic (and scary).

Itsabouttime, DEAR LORD THAT MAKES A WHOLE LOT OF SENSE!  Even down to the age thing-he was always on about how ugly he was.   It's like a light bulb's gone off in my head.  

Clearmind, I was not as familiar with the "waif" as I was with the queen.  That article is also very illuminating, and the codependency dynamic spot on.  Just getting to the "boy who cried waif" article.  This website seems to be a good resource I've not used before.

2010, very interesting stuff.  I am still confused on the BPD/NPD dynamic from what I've read here and elsewhere; I remember a site that claimed there are many different types of NPD including one where the person assumed that bad things were all his fault and that they could make good and loyal friends etc.  (frankly it sounded like Adult Children of Whatever behavior)  

BPD waif does seem to fit though.  He definitely had high narcissism, disorder or not.  He would often state that he felt the universe was against him.  Most of his art was about himself and how horrible he/everyone else in the world was.  

There was talk about his childhood-that it was horrible-but he was always vague about it... .something about his dad being too controlling and his mom being overly protective to make up for it.  I guess I'll never know the truth.  But I'm seeing things in a lot clearer way than I did before.  Thank you again for your time and your help.
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