This article was written for people trying to recover from a relationship that's had toxic consequences for them. It is not intended for Borderlines or anyone with BPD traits! If you suspect that you have borderline disorder features, this material could feel injurious to you! Please leave this site and seek alternative web content, which may feel more congruent with your personal views and needs.
You're hurting. You've never felt this excruciating pain before, and you need it to stop. Perhaps she's left you for another--or just abruptly left, and this terrible lack of closure has you confounded. You're constantly replaying each moment of this relationship in your mind trying to understand why she's left, and you keep blaming yourself. It's hard to make sense of these awful feelings, because there could have been times you thought of leaving--but you've patiently hung on, hoping it would all work out. Your emotional roller-coaster ride has finally ended, but all you can think about is having her back again.
When you're involved with a borderline disordered female, you feel ebullient when things are “good” between you, and miserable when they're not. You might think of her like a drug you can’t live without, because you've felt alive and buoyant when she was attentive, available and loving, and tortured and empty when she was indifferent, detached or cruel. During frequent breakups or periods of distancing, you may have desperately longed for her return, and resorted to elaborate means to re-engage her.
In the wake of this involvement, you're probably obsessing about what she's feeling or doing, who she's screwing~ and wondering if she's thinking at all about you. Your emotionally treacherous dance with a borderline girlfriend or wife may be over, but if your feelings of regret, shame and emptiness are so unbearable, that you want her back at any cost, this was written for You!
A man I've known for years once said, "I don't care if somebody manipulates me, as long as I'm having a good time." His statement was really funny to me back then--but it perfectly encapsulates a man's initial experience with a Borderline. Decades later, this guy craves but avoids romantic involvement, because all the women he's ever attached to, have been Borderlines!
"No good deed goes unpunished," was his favorite lament--and I guess this was the story of his life, given these unwavering romantic selections. Sadly, his only frame of reference consistently yielded painful outcomes associated with loving. Current wisdom has informed him, this prize is no longer worth the price he'd pay for another go at it. Alas, even aging has its rewards.
A Borderline will often line-up her next romance while she's still involved with You. In short, her bed never gets cold~ so if you notice that she's started up with another guy immediately, it's likely because she'd cultivated that relationship before she broke up with you! Don't expect her to admit to this, as she never will.
It's tough on you to think you can so easily be replaced, because you're paralyzed and in agony, but the Borderline's middle name is Rebound.
Certain aspects or common denominators are present in males who attach to Borderlines. Generally, these are People Pleaser types, who have rescuing or fixing compulsions, self-esteem difficulties from childhood, intimacy issues, engulfment concerns, poor self-image, dysthymia (chronic/long-standing mild to moderate depression), etc. Foundational problems of this kind leave men vulnerable to being seduced and manipulated by these women. You may be extremely accomplished and successful--but the Borderline will methodically learn what's underneath those props, and use your most intimate secrets and self-doubts against you. These involvements derail your trust in women, but also in yourself--which is unfortunately, the worst part of this deal.
Every man's ego takes a jab when a woman leaves--but a Borderline leaves you feeling guilty, ashamed, castrated, unlovable, emasculated, worthless, etc. You start believing that if she returns, you'll be able to get rid of these horrible sensations, and feel okay again. Once in awhile, your rational mind recalls the torment of that affair, and you're not certain you want that part of it again--but anything must be better than what you're feeling right now!
I'VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN.
This conflict between what you need and want, confuses and intensifies your struggle, because you're hopelessly trapped in yearning for a woman you've sensed isn't healthy for you! Your ambivalence is completely normal--but it adds to your feelings of shame about feeling out of control and a little 'crazy.' There's a ridiculously simple explanation for all of this: You've been trying to have a functional relationship with a dysfunctional female.
Heaven knows, you're not perfect--but you've overlooked an awful lot, just to keep this woman caring enough to stick around. There have been times that taking care of her feelings and needs was a full time job--but you've gladly taken it on, and tirelessly kept trying to get a few crumbs of loving attention along the way. If you disappointed or let her down in any manner, the character assaults and twisted perceptions of you as an inconsiderate or "selfish" man, made you feel just terrible about yourself. These comments usually came on the heels of the good times, so you began to believe them, which made you try even harder to please her!
There's always a childhood template that sets up our attraction to someone personality disordered. It's likely your Borderline has traits similar to mother and/or father, so you're already familiar with the relationship dynamics you've recently struggled through, which keeps it exciting, despite all the agony it causes you.
You'll keep wanting to blame yourself for your relationship faltering, but this is directly tied to experiences in childhood, which left you with self-esteem wounds. A young child can't make sense of why he isn't getting enough love, affection or support from a parent, and he doesn't even know how to ask for it! He'll try to find reasons for this lack of attention in his head--but the only rationale he can come up with is, it must be his fault; "I must not be good enough, smart enough, cute enough, lovable," etc. You've carried these self-worth injuries into your adult relationships, and now they're alive again. This damage must be repaired, or you'll continue being attracted to Borderlines.
The dangerous, diabolical hook with Borderlines, is they initially come across as genuine, and completely without pretense, guile or disguise. This helps you drop your guard, and makes it easy to trust that their statements to you are real--and they're authentic, integrous individuals. The ease you have felt with them is so natural and wholesome, it seems you've waited for this your whole life! These early behaviors are central to their Seduction Plan; as soon as they sense that you're captivated, you're captured--and these episodes of delicious intimacy become fewer and farther between.
You will never know where you stand with a Borderline, because they're not capable of discerning this for themselves--well, not beyond a few moments or hours at a time, anyway. One minute you're the center of their universe--but before you know it, you're dirt under their feet. You'll continually wrestle with this discrepancy, 'cause you're trying to make sense of it! Don't bother. It's nonsensical, until you start to accept that this is typical BPD behavior.
As you move along through this literature, I expose the myths surrounding Borderlines. That sub-section (THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY) is intended to help you start thinking logically about this mess, untangle the hold this female's had on you, and begin to recover! These myths are anecdotal, to center you and assist you in surmounting this awful struggle.
SHE LOVES ME, SHE LOVES ME NOT . . .
A borderline disordered female may lure you with explicit sexual imagery, or how much she loves or misses you when you're apart--but never deliver once you're together. Long-distance relationships that are initially cultivated and maintained over the Internet are very common in this regard, and leave men at a loss, as to why those enticing promises aren't fulfilled.
If a gal has BPD Waif features, she may explain that she thinks you should 'wait' until you marry, which can have you believing you've found a virtuous girl, and respecting her wishes--but what's happened to that sexy vamp who seduced you in the first place?? You might be willing to accommodate this bait and switch routine, but give serious weight to this disparity between her words and actions--and let it be a warning flag of what's to follow! The Waif may also use physical ailments as excuses to leave you hanging out to dry--and there you sit, with your dick in your hand.
Borderlines can leave solid, long-term attachments or marriages very suddenly. You'll be feeling shocked and bewildered by this--particularly when she cites frustrations or problems you were never made aware of, to justify her abrupt departure. You might vacillate between numbness and tormenting confusion, but what's even worse, is she'll have you thinking you're responsible for this outcome! When you've done virtually everything to keep her satisfied and happy throughout this relationship (which has included putting your personal needs and desires aside to accommodate hers), you're left only with a sense of sheer exhaustion, painful craving and deep betrayal.
You cannot help agonizing over how she could leave--given all the times she told you this was the "best sex" she'd ever had, how much she needed you, and that she could never even imagine living without you! You've believed you were the center of her universe, and it was finally safe to let your guard down, and trust that she was here to stay. Losing a Borderline is like being in a hit-and-run accident. You're in trauma, and she speeds away without a moment's consideration for the carnage she's left behind. That's brutality!
Abrupt departures during mid-life are particularly significant, because while she could have been exhibiting borderline symptoms for decades, these may become far more pronounced during marked hormonal changes, such as pre- or peri-menopause. This concern is also heightened with regard to menstrual cycles, PMS, pregnancy, ovarian removal and/or hysterectomies, etc., which can easily catalyze more acting-out behaviors and psychosis.
As stated earlier, rebound relationships are extremely common among Borderlines, and leave men feeling used and discarded--but the same disturbing patterns that you wrestled with during this relationship, are replicated with other suitors. It's literally just a matter of time before they'll meet with a similar fate, and be suffering as you are. In short, your Borderline will not miraculously become normal or well with some other guy! Her disruptive behaviors stem from deeply entrenched survival reflexes she acquired during infancy. They've become automatic, and they're as easy/natural as breathing for her. Without highly skilled therapeutic intervention, she just can't stop herself.
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With respect to her rebounding, you'll be on high-alert as to how long she's staying with the next guy. This is torturous to you, because if she manages to remain a bit longer than you think she should (based on the literature you might have read) you'll be driving yourself crazy with self-doubts and shame.
A Borderline always leaves you feeling shameful, because she makes you believe you're the one at fault for this thing not working. A long-held rotten leftover from your boyhood might be; "If I feel bad in a relationship, it must be my fault," but it's time to throw it out!!! Every male who's gone through what you're going through right now, lugs around old/deep self-worth issues from childhood, and this erroneous belief is simply a part of that faulty early programming.
The Borderline is inherently narcissistic due to his/her lack of emotional development--but you've also observed other problems, such as; desperate attempts to gain attention, intense/irrational abandonment fears, lack of empathy, extreme jealousy, lying, poor impulse control, extramarital affairs, drug/alcohol abuse, hyper-sexuality, 'crazy-making' interactions, low self-esteem, rebound relationships, passive-aggression, cognitive distortion, self-harming behaviors, eating disorders, suicidal ideation, stalking, etc. In truth, a panoply of pathologies may be associated with borderline disorder, and Histrionic Personality Disorder is just one of these.
You might have perceived a bit of 'craziness' early on, when she'd become disproportionately volatile about minor events that were troublesome to her. When she shared stories about (vilified) former boyfriends or lovers, you felt honored to be privy to these intimate revelations, while assuring yourself it would be different with you; why not--you're one of the 'good guys!' During these story-tellings, you were made to feel exceptional, heroic and uniquely unlike all the others. The way she hung on your every word, gazed into your eyes, touched you and wanted you, was beyond anything you'd experienced before, and you felt privileged to have found her. Basically, you were on top of the world--and could never have imagined falling off.
WHO ARE YOU~ AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY GIRLFRIEND?
If you've dabbled in drugs, loving a Borderline is like chasing after your first hit of Cocaine, and trying to recapture that initial 'rush' the rest of the night. In the early stages of this relationship (the Honeymoon), you felt hopelessly captivated, and intrigued with her intensity. A novel sense of contentment, wholeness or 'finally arriving,' became part of your everyday experience. The sensations she engendered in you, had only existed in vague fantasies--no matter how many close encounters there had been with other females. This might be the first time you'd gotten really intimate with someone, and felt like you were worthy of such a prize--especially if you struggled with self-esteem issues, earlier in life. Did you learn to love pain as a boy, in order to adapt to and survive it? Abuse by a Borderline is quite literally, a heart attack!
Self-worth difficulties could have drawn you to this type of woman, and kept you ensnared beyond all instinct and reason. They could have allowed you to tolerate/accept her abusive or distancing behaviors, way beyond what you've known was reasonable or right for you. She's irresistibly seductive, and may be the most exquisitely beautiful creature you have ever been with--so any notion of walking away when the going got tough, seemed inconceivable. If you're relatively inexperienced in the realm of ongoing, intimate relations, you might naturally assume "all women are like that," but they're not!!!
In direct contrast to the instability you've observed in this woman, there are times you've glimpsed what appears to be her wisdom, her spirituality and her incredible knack for stating things that make her sound like an absolute authority on health/well-being. Borderlines are often plagiarists or copycats.They may have read a plethora of self-help books along their way, that have helped them assemble their broken shards of ceramic into a mosaic of sorts, that resembles a whole/definable image. They have the remarkable capacity to mimic or parrot information they've read or heard--which helps you regard them as healthy and sane.
This characteristic is particularly common among Borderlines in the "helping" professions--which amps up the volume on your ambivalence and confusion about these women. The main issue with their Guru Complex, is they can talkthe talk--but there's no way they can walk it! That would require integrity, which is a by-product of moral development.
Borderlines have an uncanny ability to paint themselves into corners legally, financially, professionally or interpersonally--and then attempt to make You responsible for the consequences of those choices! It's impossible to make them see that their impulsivity brought about this peril, and it's payback for their short-sighted behavior. Allow them to enter adulthood. Resist the urge to bail them out.
GOD KNOWS HOW MUCH I LOVE YA BABY, BUT IT'S EXHAUSTING!
Your Borderline might have been so insecure and needy, you felt reasonably certain she would never leave you--but at times, secretly hoped she would. Her physical ailments inspired your sympathy and determination to protect her, but you've often marveled at how someone so young could be so sickly! For the most part, your relationship moved along pretty smoothly, until you tried to express any real concerns or needs. The Borderline Waif can't handle that--after all, it's clearly been your job to take care of her. The minute you had a need, she either made you wrong for it, punished you or left.
Having a serious adult conversation with a Borderline, is like trying to get a three year old to comprehend, and rationally respond to the issues at hand. Just when you've worked up the courage to approach a sensitive topic, she deftly diverts the dialogue by crying, starting a fight, or accusing you of not loving her, caring about her feelings, wanting her, etc. At this point, tremendous time and energy is spent consoling/reassuring her, and reinforcing how much you really do care! The inevitable upshot? Your original concern is successfully deflected, and any hope for resolution is abandoned. You may adore a child, but you can't have an interdependent adult relationship with one.
The Borderline's duality generally exacerbates this deflection issue. She may bully you--but the very moment you fight back, she can shape-shift into her (victimized) "poor me" role, and make you out to be the monster! You will wrestle with this time and time again--because she's typically the instigator, but you can never make her see it, or own it. Change cannot occur, because a borderline disordered person doesn't experience remorse--and when there's no genuine remorse, there can be no emotional growth or healing.
Regardless of how proficient or successful she is in her professional sphere, issues of an emotional nature make you feel like you're dealing with a little girl, who's living inside a woman's body--and this continually perplexes you! Just know that your perceptions are extremely accurate, and developmental arrest is the culprit behind this odd incongruency.
Borderlines are ignorant about men, and human nature in general. They fear that if they let you feel good about yourself, you'll leave them for someone better! Such is the extent of their insecurity, distorted thinking and abandonment terror.
Giving love and affection to a Borderline is like trying to fill a well that has a huge fracture at the bottom; she simply cannot hold it. In truth, you've had to constantly assure her of your devotion all along--but no matter how much you have, she just can't seem to retain or integrate it.
A three year old sees his/her world in a black or white sort of way. They think that you either love them or hate them, based on your facial expressions, tone of voice and behaviors. As they haven't yet developed the capacity for mood regulation, they'll react to the slightest frustration or disappointment, by hating you! As soon as their immediate upset passes, they'll revert to loving you again. Their feelings and perceptions of you can shift on a dime! Within the vernacular of borderline pathology, this love you/hate you phenomenon is referred to as 'splitting.'
Borderlines have been torturing men, probably since time began. If you're a fan of 'Oldies' music, you might remember this song from the late sixties; Build Me Up Buttercup, by The Foundations. It was upbeat and fun, but the lyrics say it all. It may cheer you up a bit, so take a second, and listen (just hit the 'back' button on your internet browser afterward, to return here).
"CAN'T WE STILL BE FRIENDS??"
You'll likely hear this question posed in slightly different ways by your soon-to-be-X-Borderline. Take a moment here, and ask yourself what friendship means to you, and if you've ever been treated with such disrespect, lack of concern and dishonesty in any relationship you've come to regard as one you could trust.
Friends aren't just acquaintances--these are folks we've learned (over time) we can rely on to have our back, as we have theirs. "A friend in need, is a friend indeed" is a truism--unless you've been broad-sided by a Borderline!The BPD Waif tries to keep you around to meet every little need she has, no matter how inconvenient it might be for you drop everything in your world, to respond to her frantic outreach--be it the middle of the night, or otherwise.
The unfortunate truth here is, this has never been a reciprocal relationship--and it ain't about to become one now. If your fixing/rescuing compulsions are so deeply entrenched, that you're bound and determined to dangle on the sidelines as her emergency life-support unit, you're signing up for even more destructive, debilitating times up ahead, and you're a chump. You have been duly warned. Proceed at your own great peril.
If you're the one wanting to maintain this connection, in spite of all the pain this gal has caused you, you're only trying to escape the toxic shame you're experiencing in the aftermath of that relationship, and understandably trying to bandage your ego. If you think this female can't be seriously wounding to you when sex isn't part of your dynamic anymore, you're lying to yourself!
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY: KNOW THY OPPONENT!
I'm now going to debunk some myths about Borderlines:
First, they won't all behave identically. You might assume that certain patterns you've heard or read about can be anticipated with every Borderline--but it just isn't true. For one; after an upset or break-up, her return is not chiseled in stone! It's likely she'll come around when she wants or needs something from you, but this is only when it suits her--which could take weeks, months, or even years.
Second, Borderlines can make tangible progress with solid, core focused help, but you may have a better shot at flying to the moon strapped to a banana, than keeping them in treatment long enough, to accomplish any real growth or healing. Don't forget--they're terrified of attaching, and relying on anyone for their care.
Borderlines act-out by devaluing therapists, acting belligerent or picking fights with them, being non-compliant and/or seductive, missing appointments, rescheduling at the last minute, or lying in effort to control the therapeutic relationship. Week to week, their therapist hears them diminish you or glorify you, and this splitting reflex (of course) happens continuously.
Third, no matter how much you try to please her or love her better, you're in for a rocky ride. Borderlines can be attracted to narcissistic or abusive men, because of poor self-image and attachment fears: What could be safer, than trying to get someone to love you, who's incapable of loving?? You might wanna answer this for yourself, incidentally.
The more you demonstrate that she's lovable, the more disdain she feels toward you. It's kind of like that old saying; "I wouldn't want to join a club that would have me as a member," holds true here. You can't be someone you're not, just to keep this woman interested in you--but your need to be who she needs you to be, could be deeply rooted in boyhood!!!
Fourth, when you're imagining that she's feeling exactly like you are, stop it! There are times you'll show up on her radar, and times you won't--no matter how much history you've shared. An individual who lives with psychosis does not have the same feelings or emotional responses as you. To presume that they do, is unrealistic thinking, narcissistic and potentially very dangerous.
Fifth, if you're thinking you need her to suffer like you have--and that being seen with someone new will make her want you again, watch your back! This is an extremely hazardous game you're about to play, regardless of whether or not she's left you for a rebound relationship. Dating a new woman? Keep a low profile, and put your car in the garage! Is this fair? No, but it's sane and safer.
Sixth, if you're reflexively making yourself "wrong" for conjuring up all sorts of terrible fates befalling her, ease-up on yourself! Your anger is appropriate under these circumstances, and it's an activating emotion--which gives you temporary respite from this dreadful depression.
Rage is a normal aspect of your healing process, but try to hold these feelings without self-judgment, rather than acting on them (unless you wanna do some push-ups). In other words, express this energy in ways that won't harm you, or anyone else. You can acquire power tools for venting your anger.
Seventh, if she calls or "checks in" to see how you're doing in the aftermath of this relationship, it's never, ever about you! Your needs didn't matter while she was with you, and they don't matter now! You may feel grateful she seems to "care" enough to keep this connection alive--but her sole purpose is keeping you around to meet her needs (no matter what she says to the contrary). A three year old hasn't developed any capacity for empathy (that's acquired much later on), so don't presume that she's calling for your sake.
Eighth, no matter who left whom, emotional cut-off is second nature to this woman. It's natural for you to wonder if she ever really loved you, or meant the things she said while you were together--particularly if she's diminishing you or your value or importance to her, now. Was she "faking it?" No, but you must understand, this is part of that splitting reflex described above, and just one of the survival tools she's carried since infancy. You cannot change or fix this.
Ninth, the minute you make contact with her, you're giving away your power! No matter what you think you need to say to this female, these dialogues will leave you feeling worse, not better. You may compulsively replay these conversations in your head afterwards, and think you did a really good job--but it won't be long before you're doubting it, and torturing yourself.
Do not intercept her calls; if you decide to return them, do it when you're feeling more centered, and it's easy/convenient for you. Don't reply to any emails or text messages, and do not respond to her "emergencies!" It won'twin her back, or make her think more highly of you. Besides, the current crisis will blow over very shortly; by the time you get back to her, she's already onto something else. It's really best if you don't hear her voicemails, or read what she sends you. Doing so, only prolongs your pain. Delete, delete, delete!!!
Tenth, Borderlines don't change, because they don't have to! Her great looks and captivating charms continually allow her to seduce men, which feeds her narcissism. Your ego's taken a serious beating, so you probably can't believe this right now--but you deserve a lot better.
Eleventh, if you're fairly certain she's rebounding with someone who's better looking, wealthier, brighter, taller, more loving, etc., in most instances, this is a totally erroneous assumption! It's unlikely you'll accept this at present, but she's more prone to choosing an easier mark the next time around--even if it's a fellow who feels stuck in an unfulfilling marriage.
In truth, most men are utterly shocked when they finally discover who their ex has deserted them for. This relentless preoccupation with who the other guy is, taps into childhood deficits that undermined your self-worth. If you grew up with a dad who was narcissistic, tyrannical, weak/sickly--or wasn't around much, there's a strong likelihood that his needs superseded yours--at least, where your mom was concerned. In short, you've had to compete for a woman's attention and love your entire life. It is this aspect that allows you to take her back, after each sexual betrayal with another man--regardless of how castrating it feels. It's never "a mistake" she made, incidentally~ cheating on you was nothing short of a deliberate act.
Twelfth, stop assuming that this female is the keeper of your pleasure and pain! You are the sole proprietor of these sensations; in short, they belong entirely to you--not to her. You might be inclined to credit her for bringing these intense feelings into your life, but they've been inside you all along, since you were born--she's simply awakened them. In a sense, you've been sleepwalking since childhood, when you had to discard various emotions your parents treated as unacceptable, or "bad."
Thirteenth, and perhaps most important: There will be moments where she'll seem rational and lucid--both while you're with her, and after the break-up. These episodes have insidiously kept you in this destructive relationship, by fueling your capacity to overlook, trivialize or normalize abnormal behaviors. These phases are very transient/fleeting--but they've indulged your fantasy that this lover is really whole, or sane. Watch out for this one!!!
Fourteenth, Borderlines lacked a healthy symbiotic bond in infancy with their birth mothers, which is the core of this difficulty. You may have sensed that she's wanted/needed you to be a mind reader or Mommy, when these primal needs got displaced onto you--but no male on God's green earth is equipped to take on these roles, or heal the archaic injuries that drive her demands.
Fifteenth, Borderlines do not "get better" with age! Re-reference my mid-life paragraph above. While some of their acting-out behaviors can mitigate over time, these generally transmute into other issues--unless there's been solid therapeutic intervention along the way; the Witch or Queen Borderline could adopt Hermit or Waif traits, for instance.
We're not as aware of these folks, because they're no longer out 'trolling' in Our World. Have you ever noticed disheveled old people who are living on the street, begging, acting crazy and muttering to themselves? You're observing Borderline pathology in the aged, and/or real and severe mental disorders, such as Schizophrenia.
Sixteenth, don't fall into the trap of thinking you can construct a relationship with a "high-functioning" Borderline. They may be adept professionally, and way too many are psychotherapists, but their romantic partnerships suffer the same come-here/go-away interpersonal dynamics, as all the rest! Of course, they're exceptionally bright and capable--but emotionally under-cooked and very damaged. As hard as it is to believe, your dance with a 'therapist' may be the most diabolical and wounding of all BPD relationships. Why? They're brilliant at making you think that you're the one who's defective and nuts!
Seventeenth, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is NOT a "mental illness," and if someone is highly motivated to heal and do the challenging work needed to grow emotionally, it can be resolved. The 'sympathy' you feel for your Borderline is directly associated with vulnerable/fragile emotions and aspects in You, that you had to disown and eliminate since early in childhood. In short, it's projection. Charity begins at home~ be kind to YOU.
FEMME FATALES, AND OTHER THINGS THAT GO 'BUMP' IN THE NIGHT
Hundreds of men have asked me why Borderlines are "so darned seductive."Are you by chance, a fisherman? Have you ever experienced a time when you were successful at fishing, without baiting the hook?? A Borderline's 'bait' is impossible to resist. She's usually beautiful, alluring, charismatic, sexy, etc.
Borderlines lie, or fabricate and embellish the truth. That's what they do, to defend against their insecurities, and make you see them as more worthy of your love/desire. Your instincts might have alerted you to this facet, and you may have brushed them aside, or decided they were insignificant--but could you ever really trust her?
This woman could make self-aggrandizing statements concerning her appeal or allure to other males. She may tell you about men who've flirted with her during an event or outing when you weren't nearby--or she'll often reference a boss, friend or co-worker who's "got a thing" for her. This is a manipulation that's designed to cover several bases--but it's mainly about control.
First, it's a distancing technique that keeps you on edge--meaning, uneasy and off-kilter (the better to control you with, my dear). It's great sport for her to seduce you back--especially after she's angered you (make up sex is hotter). Her comments are nothing short of emasculating--and a conscious, sound adult female doesn't do that to someone she loves! Rubbing your nose in this stuff (whether true or not) is the equivalent of lopping off your balls. You'll resist feeling small and insignificant--but she generally hits her mark.
Second, this behavior triggers your competitive reflex, because boyhood self-esteem issues get activated (along with your abandonment concerns), and you're compelled to do something about that! This can take the form of buying her costly gifts, fawning over her, taking her on elaborate trips/vacations, etc. Her diabolical maneuvers are designed to make you feel insecure and unworthy, view her as more valuable than she sees herself, and manipulate your desire and emotions. That's just the beginning--but bottom line, we need to build your self-worth, so you're never susceptible to this crap again!
Given that most Borderlines are exceptionally bright, they're usually capable of convincing you that it's your fault or shortcoming, which has ruptured this relationship. Did you ever buy into this--even when overwhelming evidence was stacked against her argument, and you were unequivocally certain she was wrong? Her brilliant (but twisted) logic and verbal dexterity could distort facts and details, to where her perceptions often made sense--even if she completely contradicted herself, from one hour to the next!
You might have doubted yourself at these times, and questioned if you were going insane. These feelings were directly related to spending time with someone whose psychic/emotional balance is profoundly unstable, to say the least~ and it rubs off on you.
WHEN LOVE IS JUST A FOUR LETTER WORD
Years ago, I worked with a client who steadily eroded her lover's self-worth. He was a sweet and good guy, but she'd beat him up emotionally and psychically every single day--and routinely told him she wanted him out. When he finally complied and left, she frantically tried to get him to come back. When I pointed out that she'd pushed him out the door--which is what she'd always said she wanted, she stormed out of my office, yelling "this isn't my fault" and never returned.
This was clearly my own error in judgment at that moment, but in my defense, I knew relatively nothing about BPD pathology back then, because future clinicians arent exposed to it during their schooling. Still, I often regret the lack of education and preparedness that may have helped me help her, at the time. In truth, she called me more than a decade after she'd left my care, so perhaps I had at least inspired her trust for awhile.
Once she's kicked you out or you've managed to leave, her attempts to lure you back again, could become pitifully desperate/hysterical--she might even threaten to KILL herself, if you don't return! This is the ultimate emotional blackmail, which might be used to influence your behavior--but resist feeling flattered, or frightened for her. These frantic measures are very long-held primitive reflexes that are being triggered by her overwhelming needs, which have nothing to do with you! If this chaos has reached the point of feeling like crisis, urge her to see a mental health professional.
Yes of course, you'll feel sorry for her! She'll tug relentlessly at your heart-strings when she's sobbing and telling you how empty, alone, desperate and sad she is, and you'll feel compelled to offer solace and comfort, but don't.Given your childhood programming, it's far easier for you to feel compassion for another, than for Yourself--and we definitely need this energy focused on you growing stronger and healthier. She will survive. She always has.
While she provides a lovely distraction from your own pain and emptiness, the moment her current crisis blows over, she'll revert again to that rageful, crazy-making gal you've known all along--and you're back out in the cold. You already know this.
HERE I AM, TO SAVE THE DAY! UH, HANG ON--WHO AM I AGAIN???
The Borderline's mixed messages keep you confused and off-center. It's not that they do this stuff deliberately, but their distorted perceptions and labile moods make you feel like a horse, who's constantly having his reins jerked right and left, to where he's overwhelmed and paralyzed--or furious enough to buck that rider off his back! You're damned when you react, because the Borderline seizes this as an excuse to sanction her punishing or abandoning behaviors--and you're damned when you don't, because you're forced to flee your disquieting ambivalence about remaining or leaving, with alcohol/drug abuse, working longer hours, overeating, etc., just to cope!
Borderlines can turn good men into monsters. They'll steadily erode your self-worth with subtle/snide comments and other passive maneuvers, even if their words can't be identified as wounding or cruel. Their delivery and tone will make you feel infantilized--as if she's the critical parent, and you're the little kid, who's done something terribly wrong. She's masterful at shaming you--and the saddest part is, you keep buying into it! Some men are actually moved to violence during these relationships--even if aggression is completely foreign to their natures.
You'll feel compelled to stick around, no matter how abusive or diminishing she is to you. This is directly tied to an issue called 'learned helplessness' you acquired as a boy--and it's left you with masochistic tendencies:
A lover who's elusive, cruel, or just emotionally and/or physically unavailable can trigger painful sensations that replicate what you may have experienced as a child, seeking a loving/responsive parent. This emotionally inadequate, yet dramatically felt kind of episode functions as a powerful catalyst, that inspires a tenacious (and vaguely familiar) pursuit to seduce this object of desire into reciprocating your attention and ardor.
Since the intense feelings that are invoked by such a relationship are compelling/addictive, somebody who awakens them, is addictive as well. In the rare event an attachment is successfully formed, rejection by your lover can set in motion an internal re-enactment of childhood abandonment struggles, and drudge up excruciating feelings of inadequacy and shame, which are almost impossible to endure! Punishment of the Self, in the form of compulsive, addictive reflexes or destructive acting-out behaviors usually accompany or follow this kind of setback.
Think that therapeutic professionals are immune to Borderlines? Think again. Dialogues with personality disordered individuals leave us all feeling like we need a shower afterwards to wash off the toxic sludge their devaluations and guilt trips leave behind. The quicker you end all contact, the better.
Control issues may have kept you in this game far longer than you should've stayed, but skirmishes with the Borderline are always a no-win proposition. No matter how brilliant/bright you are, you'll never get the upper hand with this female. Frustrating challenges might taunt you to keep trying, but this reflex is usually tied to early life events that helped you feel more valued or in-charge, and fueled a false sense of self-worth. Boyhood experiences such as mediating when your parent's argued--or comforting Mom when she was upset/depressed, could have cemented your rescuing fantasies. Altering your mother's mood or your folk's interactions could have helped you gain a sense of mastery/control in your family environment, which has naturally influenced all adult dynamics--but a harmonious/loving relationship with a Borderline is rarely possible, which can be very costly to your mental and physical health.
The continuous stress of emotional/psychological warfare affects the human condition more than physical abuse, and some men develop serious ailments during their time in these relationships. Prostate problems, heart conditions, blood disorders, herpes breakouts, migraine headaches and glaucoma are a few of the souvenirs men have retained from these relationships--regardless of how physically powerful they were, before they met the Borderline! One of my ex's was married to a borderline disordered female for twelve years. He's now suffering with a form of Parkinson's Disease--and just trying to survive.
By the time she's done with you, you could feel like a shadow of your former self--an empty shell of a man. The Borderline is an emotional vampire; she steadily wears you down with constant brainwashing and drains your vitality. Her skewed perceptions make you feel as if you're viewing yourself in a Fun House mirror, and you begin thinking that this distorted reflection of you is accurate!
NICE GUYS FINISH LAST.
Every male who has attached to a Borderline has great difficulty accepting that he's adored someone who has psychotic traits--no matter how pronounced her disturbing behaviors have been! They all compulsively want "unequivocal proof" that this woman is crazy or even dangerously unstable, and I have been asked respond to this need, by many.
Resistance is understandable, as acceptance involves confronting intricate layers of conflict within one's own psyche; the most prominent layer of this emotional lasagna is shame. Entrenched denial of the borderline's pathology allows a man to side-step asking himself, "if I'm hopelessly enamored with an individual who isn't healthy or sane, what's wrong with me?!"
This shame response is the leftover from childhood that inspires his need to accept and normalize bizarre behaviors while in this relationship, rather than recognizing them as aberrant, and getting the hell out! The roots of this attraction are deep and started so early in life, that it's almost impossible to avoid the Borderline's noxious allure, regardless of the agony it triggers.
Certain men's boyhoods were punctuated with distressing or painful experiences that left behind a relational blueprint, which has strongly influenced self-worth and partner selection. This archaic blueprint/template continues to undermine all bonding endeavors, not just romantic ones--and curtails productive, healthy personal and professional alliances.
This excerpt is borrowed from my male borderline piece. It may provide more insight as to why this gal has gotten under your skin, for we typically choose romantic partners who echo traits of the parent with whom we consciously had the most issues, in childhood:
A man who was raised by a volatile, violent father and passive/victim mother, will likely settle on partners who have his father's traits, while adopting the mother's passivity as his own. Since she's elicited his sympathy and concern, she's the parent with whom he can identify (and who seems the lesser of two evils). Childhood beatings do not in themselves, spawn BPD pathology. The roots of this disorder involve betrayal by an adult caregiver, who fails to protect a child from harm, or another's cruelty. My sense is that performer Michael Jackson was a tragic victim of this upbringing.
Again, when you've fallen deeply for a Borderline, you could come away from this experience having lost your trust in women--but also, in yourself. In my view, this is the most tragic consequence of these relationships.
Everything you've grown up believing that you should want in a female, has come into question during the time it has taken you to survive and recover from, this emotionally wrenching affair. Along similar lines of a post-traumatic stress disorder, you are no longer able to feel confident that your perceptions and instincts will serve and protect you. In short, you're left with considerable scars--and while your head might tell you that not all women are going to wreak such havoc, your heart is never again quite sure.
Later on in life, you might be willing to take another risk, but hurtful memories start to replay each time you contemplate loving again--and you could talk yourself out of it, before you've even begun. Part of this pain that's remaining is primitive, meaning it touches on very old/deep layers within you from childhood; why else would you have such difficulty getting close to someone again?
There is nothing wrong with determining you're not up to the task of loving again--but be fair to the people you're dating, and be honest about it at the start! Otherwise, you're doing to someone else, what was done to you.
The greatest difficulty you may have after this relationship blows apart, is that when you're unresponsive to your lover or you've distanced yourself, you feel guilty. When she neglects or rejects you, you feel tremendous shame.
Both of these sensations are deeply distressing--which causes substantial conflict within. In truth, these feelings have been living inside of you since boyhood, which is why they feel so loaded or emotionally charged. Unfortunately, they also trap you in a state of limbo, because it feels bad to stay connected, yet bad to cut it off. With competent help, this issue can be resolved.
Love is an ever-expanding sense of trust in another, along with admiration and respect for their talents, character, attributes and qualities. The feelings you've had for this woman aren't actually "Love," they're infatuation, addiction and obsession.
Using the word 'love' in reference to her, keeps you trapped in painful yearning, so try and drop it from your vocabulary. You were understandably inebriated with how her attention initially helped you feel about Yourself, but real love is neither painful nor obsessional. Pain could have become associated and confused with loving throughout your childhood--but it's the antithesis of consistently stable, nourishing relationships.
I'm sorry if you've noticed any redundancies between this article, and a PDF file generated by BPDFamily.com. Blog site operator, 'Skippy' of BPDFamily.com asked my permission in 2008 to amend/adapt this piece (AT ANY COST) for his site, and I refused him. All articles and other materials on my wellness site are totally original works, protected under copyright law. Skip ignored my non-consent for the use of this piece, and stole/reprinted words and phrases from it--which serve as ongoing reminders of his lack of honor and character. His subsequent efforts to malign me and devalue my written materials (since the 2008 incident) seem driven solely by vengeance. In every instance of discord between us, he has struck the first blow, and any claims he's made about me or my practice are completely unfounded/untrue.
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