What is a husband of a borderline to do when he feels that, for the sake of his relationship with his children and for their well-being he cannot leave his relationship with a wife that has Borderline Personality Disorder? While it is easy for anyone to say, hey, if your relationship is over, just get out, the truth is that there are many situations involving children, particularly, where things just aren’t that cut and dry.
How can a non borderline maintain their sanity in a relationship with a borderline partner that is over but that can’t be totally over just yet due to the needs of one’s own children? Can one?
What follows is one man’s experience. Forrest is married to a woman with BPD. Forrest has decided to stay until his children are old enough to speak to a court for themselves in a divorce.
Forrest (a non borderline husband of a BPD wife) writes:
“After reading so much on line I surely found a connection with the Non-borderlines. Here in the outback of South Dakota Borderline Personality Disorder is pretty much an unknown. I even spoke with the head therapist of a counseling center and she told me I probably knew more about BPD than her or any other counselor from the investigations I have done on my own. She told me for my wife to get help she may have to go back east where specialists exist. I did get my wife in front of one counselor and of course she got the counselor believing that I was the bad guy and that she was the victim. Thank God that counselor moved away and was replaced by an older chemical dependency counselor. That lasted about three sessions. Once this counselor began to confront her behavior she stopped going.
Ok, I am not without fault in this relationship, but I do believe the things that have happened would not have happened if I was with a “healthy” person. So like most of you I met this dynamic person working in the same large facility as me. She was beautiful, smart, and fun to be with. Once we started dating things moved fast. The first red flag I saw was her irrational jealousy towards a woman I had dated before I met her. I had cut all ties with that women but for some reason, only a BPD would know, she would bring up this women and escalate into a rage, trashing this women, calling me names, spit on me, then jump on me hitting and scratching me. I did have to restrain her several times. Back then I had no idea what was going on and even apologized to her for her being so upset.
I asked friends about this to see if I was at fault or what. One thing I knew was that if she really was this bad off over a long gone girlfriend then I had better keep my past marriages, girlfriends a secret. A wise decision at the time but one that I grew to regret. Remember I told you I was not without fault in this.
I got her pregnant and being from the old school I would not allow my child to be fatherless. I actually believed I could make it work. I had counseling experience and bla bla bla. What a fool I was and didn’t even know it. I don’t think it’s important to go through ten years of this roller coaster ride with you, you know it all already. Some I have read have experienced things much worst than I have. I will tell you some high lights, so you will be warned.
She was arrested for spouse abuse on me! She was taken to jail. Then with help from her enabling dad, she got out. She spoke with the State’s Attorney and got all the charges dropped. The sheriff’s department was reprimanded for not arresting me and she put herself in a woman’s shelter to get the star victim role back.
She got into our children’s savings accounts. The accounts we were saving money in for their college educations and depleted them to buy new furniture. She was mad at me at the time and somehow, to her, it’s all my fault.
When our second son died at six weeks old I got to experience the strangest grieving I have ever seen. We were all grief struck but she went to a place I feared she may never come out of. She was seeing and hearing things – having hallucinations.
She was having illusions and delusions that make no sense. Tying past hurts to present grieving so she could have someone to blame. The whole thing was an experience and she still is not completely out of it.
Of course the list goes on and on, as I am sure if you have been involved with someone with BPD, you too know all to well yourself. I have lost weight, lost interest, been in depression, see a therapist and really have few friends. Oh yes, she called all my friends and family trashed me to them and demanded an account of all women I have known and then preceded to call all of them too.
Yes I am still with her. Why you might ask? Because the worst thing in the world for me would be to lose my kids to her in a divorce. That would be like climbing out of a lake full of alligators and leaving them behind – it isn’t going to happen.
I was told, here in this state, a judge will not speak to a child until the age of 12. So I have resigned myself to this slavery until that day. My daughter is nine. She sees a therapist too. My son is six, her favorite.
I would be open to helpful comments from anyone else in a situation like mine.”
Are you someone in this situation? Do you have any comments for Forrest and others in this most difficult paradox on the other side of Borderline Personality Disorder?
How does one protect himself from the pain and the hurt and the abuse when one has chosen to stay for a period of time after one knows that a relationship is over?
- Inside The Borderline Mind
- The Shame of Abandonment In BPD
- Breaking Free of The Borderline Maze – Recovery For Nons
- Facing the Facts of BPD – On The Other Side For Nons
- Overcoming Denial About BPD and Love
One thing that I believe is key in surviving someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder (who isn’t making any changes or gaining any awareness or able to take personal responsibility) is disengaging the toxic, often enmeshed, emotionally chaotic relational dance. It is possible to detach from this and to disengage this even while still remaining in the relationship. It is not easy. It takes planning, education, and practice.
Mindfulness and Radical Acceptance practice can and will be of immense benefit to any non borderline who is in a relationship with someone with BPD that is over – but can’t be over yet. I have written about this detachment strategy in my ebook, The Other Side of Borderline Personality Disorder – Mindfulness and Radical Acceptance for Non Borderlines
Mindfulness and Radical Acceptance are interpersonal skills, that when practiced can and will enable you to break old unhealthy negative and patterned ways of both relating and reacting to the borderline in your life that you need to disengage and emotionally detach from to save your own sanity.
© A.J. Mahari, August 15, 2008 – All rights reserved.