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Author Topic: Must there be honesty in regard to BPD diagnosis?  (Read 801 times)
LightAfterTunnel
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
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« on: October 25, 2017, 02:41:47 PM »

So the title contains my question... .but a little background:

About one year ago while we were moving into a new house I happened upon a binder of my wife's. I was transporting her art atelier stuff and a binder fell out of the box and onto the floor unleashing all its contents. Upon picking the papers up I realized that the binder contained all the course material my wife had done in a DBT clinical program for BPD the year prior to us meeting one another, now 11+ years ago.

When I found the material is wasn't a big surprise in itself, I have assumed my wife has some form of BPD and is on the PD spectrum for upwards of 8 years. I have never had "proof" and I don't really care to anymore. After years of therapy, I am finally strong and equilibrated enough and able to safely, lovingly, and honestly deal with her for most the time.

We have 3 children (D9, S6, D4) and for this reason alone I am still in the relationship. If the social structure of the country in which we live were more progressive then I would attempt some sort of separation. Unfortunately, the legal system here is not well integrated into their mental health programs in regard to family matters such as divorce and child custody. After almost 10 yrs together I was able to get her into joint therapy sessions but it went nowhere to the point that the therapist didn't think we should continue (long sad story in itself about incompetent therapists). The divorce lawyer I consulted told me that the courts are 9 times out of 10 likely to give the house, custody of children, and more to the wife simply based on the outdated idea of the maternal parent being a better caregiver. So my game plan has been do as much as I can for the kiddos, continually work on myself to keep me happy and stable, and try my best to be a caring partner for my BPD wife until my oldest daughter reaches the age of 12 at which time her testimony can be used in court (I hope it doesn't have to come to this). Hopefully, if I am lucky, somewhere in these next 3 years my wife will want to amicably separate or things will improve to allow for a better arrangement that is currently present.

Some more quick bullet point background:

- 8 yrs ago, I tried to talk to her (stupidly) about certain things I was witnessing that I was worried about and that fit the profile of personality disorders (this was after I became aware of PDs after her father was informally diagnosed with NPD by a psychologist colleague of his). She freaked out at me and I don't think she has ever forgiven me for my honest attempt to talk openly with her.

- Over the years, I have openly written her letters talking about the issues that scared me and my worries about her behavior with the kids, her dissociation episodes, etc. She will never respond or will just deny.

- This year, in our joint therapy sessions and in her individual therapy sessions (to which I was asked to come for 3 times at the beginning about 6 months ago) she would openly deny and/or lie about anything I bring up regarding these issues.

In other words, she has never wanted to be honest with me in these 10 years regarding her BPD diagnosis. Until now, I never had hard proof, so I would just back off. About 8 months ago, what set off her going to individual therapy and us going to joint therapy was my asking for a divorce. I directly told her that I can't parent with her or be the person I want to be with her. She asked me to stay and told me she would try. To her credit, I think she is trying hard, however as you all know progress is slow to say the least, and definitely not linear. Many of the very worrisome issues have gone by the wayside, some ugly issues still rear their heads every once in awhile, and a whole lot of stuff has yet to be touched.

So back to the question at hand: Is there any use in directly approaching her with the fact of her prior BPD diagnosis?

I don't have any false expectations of us or wanting her to become someone I know she will never be. She is a wonderful person with some very wonderful attributes. But I do feel that someone who has spent 10+ yrs with her, has 3 children with her, and cares immensely about her well-being that she needs to be more honest with herself regarding her BPD and its effects on the children especially.

I look forward to hearing your advice. Thanks!
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PeteWitsend
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2017, 03:53:43 PM »

Hi LightAfterTunnel,

everything I've read about BPD, and everyone I've talked to says the same thing: do not mention the diagnosis (actual or suspected) to the person you believe has it.  They will only resent you for it, deny it, or actually claim you suffer from it, not them.

given your own dealings with your wife on previous occasions you've broached the topic of her issues, I suspect you'd get a similar result, even if you had physical proof in hand.

In my own experience, if during a fight, I confront my wife with something she doesn't want to hear or see, she'll storm off to avoid it, then return later trying another line of attack. There's no winning this argument.  all points are waived off.
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Lucky Jim
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2017, 04:19:43 PM »

Hey LightAfter, I agree w/Pete: the short answer is No, it's not a good idea.  Suggest you leave this sort of discussion to professionals, because it's likely to be poorly received, coming from you.

LJ
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evanescent
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2017, 11:17:48 PM »

Speaking as one who never directly confronted my uBPDw, I never thought there was a time it would be productive. Over a decade ago, she snooped my web history however and discovered that I was researching the issue and discussing it on the old version of this board. I was not convinced that she was full blown BPD at the time, but merely exhibited significant traits of BP. Even so, she got upset about it and made things difficult for me for a considerable time, BUT, what that did do was the plant the seed in her for some introspection and research.

I was not aware of just how much or what she read, but over the years it became clear to me that she was at least considering the validity of the issue, and in many cases seemed to really be trying to contain the splits at least with respect to me, even though she could never bring herself to seek treatment. Posthumously, I have learned that she did far more reading on the subject than I had imagined, and shortly before she took her own life, admitted to me that she knew she was at least BP. (But let me be clear that this admission was only a culminating factor of many other issues that led to her suicide. It was by no means causation.)

The fact that your partner has been diagnosed simplifies the matter somewhat, but in no way makes it productive for you to 'remind' her of her flaws directly. It is far better for you and the children to give time and space where needed, and let her figure out the rest.
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babyducks
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2017, 08:08:57 AM »

Hi LightAfterTunnel,

Welcome to the family.   It's nice to have you with us.



So back to the question at hand: Is there any use in directly approaching her with the fact of her prior BPD diagnosis?


Everyone's situation is unique.   BPD exists on a spectrum.     As no two people are alike, no two sufferers of BPD are alike.  They do share common characteristics.

 My experience was that my Ex Partner was diagnosed Bipolar1 comorbid with 'something else'.  She was accepting of the Bipolar 1 diagnosis.   Compliant with medication.    Regular with therapy.    Working on managing the mania, which was harder for her.    She would occasionally self disclose the Bipolar 1.   She could barely talk about the "something else".

I know that BPD has a stigma attached to it.    It's a shameful diagnosis.   There is a lot of bashing that goes on around it.   Heck you only have to read a few posts here on this site to read the "evil"   "possessed by devil" and "those people" type descriptions.   My best guess is that my ex partner had been exposed to that stigma and didn't want any part of it.   Even the professional literature is sometimes unkind.    I think because she suffered from shame and self loathing this was a difficult one for her to self disclose and accept.   

We never used the name 'BPD' we did occasionally talk about fears of abandonment, or fears of not getting needs met.     that was just slightly easier.

what I have observed here over a lot of time is that the need to discuss the name,... .to say BPD out loud is more for us than our partners/spouses.   It makes us feel better to finally call out that thing we live with.   the risk of course in talking about the elephant in the room is we push passed what our people can deal with.    it's a judgement call.     At the end when I had the opportunity to do it, I chose not too.   I can't tell you if that was the right or wrong decision.   I can say that if I had discussed it,  I would have probably used the term emotional dysregulation disorder, rather than BPD.

'ducks

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What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
isilme
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Relationship status: Married
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2017, 03:27:11 PM »

Excerpt
Speaking as one who never directly confronted my uBPDw, I never thought there was a time it would be productive

Same.  No. I see no use in directly approaching her about it.  What would you hope to come from it?  If the nature of BPD allowed facts to help sway emotions away from irrational behavior, most of us would not be talking on this message board.

I usually see a few things from people wanting to "prove" their SO has BPD TO their SO.  It's a form of validation that all the crazy accusations, gaslighting, and verbal and emotional abuse is NOT usually based on things we have done.  It stems from the internal workings of the pwBPD, and our own actions can fuel the flames, but we didn't start that fire.  So, it'd really be nice to get that validation... .it'd also be nice to win the lottery, and you probably have better chances of the latter than the former.

We'd like them to say, "Oh, wow.  I guess I need help.  What do I do?"  See above lottery reference.  SOME people accept it enough to try therapy.  You W even did at some point.  Some even stick with it and manage to use it to improve.  Many deny it.  Blame you for it.  Blame you to the therapist, and in some cases do such a great job you are in a pickle trying to un-prove their assertations.  You certainly don't want that should a custody hearing be in the future. 

I think the suggestion to copy it and save it is the best.  I'd even consider sharing it with any legal counsel you may already have on tap, just as a precaution for the rainy day of said potential custody hearings.  Other than that - there is no benefit I can see from confronting her with it or asking her about it, unless you want a shame-avoidance-fueled fight.   

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