I was married to a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder. I hope my experience will help some other non-borderline to get out early while the damage can be contained. My experience goes back to Norwood, MA in the spring of 1998 and ends with a divorce decree in Trenton, NJ from my complaint filed under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2(c); grounds of “Extreme Cruelty.”
Well, most of the sample of what I lived and wrote about below is in public court records, medical insurance files and ER, hospital, rehab records and her family and our friends all know and I don’t have anything to hide. I mean, if I wrote about what life with a diabetic is like, it would be my personal experience… this isn’t much different save for the magnitude of damage (emotional and financial) that non-borderline stories about being involved with Borderlines seem to entail.
Yes, I realize the text below sounds (or is) vitriolic, but then again what I lived and am living still is/went well beyond what any married couple experiences or anything that might be placed under the “marital troubles” umbrella.
I hope my experience will help some other non-borderline to get out early while the damage can be contained.
Again, thanks for hosting/publishing your web site. I need to go back and look over that stuff any time I’m feeling like I did something “wrong” to lose the marriage or when trying to understand why the BP refuses to see her own child – 7 months now when the court and her attorney are NOT watching her!
In response to Response to Wende’s Response To Borderline Remembering (from an email list)
A non-BP ex-husband writes:
My experience goes back to Norwood, MA in the spring of 1998 and ends with a divorce decree in Trenton, NJ from my complaint filed under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2(c); grounds of “Extreme Cruelty.”
I am and have been sole custodian of our child since he was months old. His mother had many opportunities to visit with our son, but refuses them. In 2002 there were a few months of once-a-month, for 2 hours supervised visitation that she took advantage of. During early 2001 she refused to attend his Baptism or express concern while he was hospitalized for pneumonia. She hasn’t, to this day, ever sent a birthday or Christmas present to him either.
In late 2002 when her child support obligation was ordered to a level she didn’t like upon the court reviewing her financial documents, her response was predictable — vindictive. She filed criminal complaints and made other allegations about my being an unfit parent. This is after years of my caring for our child solo and despite the fact her older son, my former step-son, was living with his biological father because of her inability to properly care for that child while she was remanded to a long-term residential rehab. She hired a high-priced Princeton law firm. The BP then recast history.
The BP-ex began telling the court she was interested in being a mother and wanted custody. She asked for more visitation and got it. She attended about 60% of what was allowed/scheduled. She even paid her child support on time. I suspect her attorney advised her to do so because the court would consider all this at the final trial. The visits and support all stopped 6 weeks after the judge signed the final divorce decree. Her lawyer quit representing my-ex. Mother halted telephone contact with our son too. Yes. He is one confused little boy when it comes to mommy.
This is now fall 2004 and from what I’ve observed in my 6 years of “relationship” with a professionally diagnosed Borderline, nothing has changed. I mean, the BP hasn’t changed or gotten better if you take some baseline of behavior in the past and compare to the present. Her lies, manipulations, deceptions and recasting of facts (the mental health community euphemism for this is “cognitive distortions”) have revealed her REAL personality. I see now that the charming pseudo persona is what my BP-ex uses to gain access to what she wants at that moment, e.g., money, leniency in court, sex, etc.
The non-BP writer above has expressed devotion and hope; she has latched onto what we nons do, the good times, and yes they are memorable and I too will say they were among the best times of my life. The problem is the ratio arithmetic. It was never 50/50 good/bad, it was always 95/5 that is, bad/good where the 5% good times were intense and euphoric. Perhaps because the good stood in such stark contrast with the horror and abuse that was the BP’s primary mode, they merely felt more pronounced.
With her 18 months of sobriety (alcohol and substance abuse) and her taking meds and participation in DBT, we married. We lived in a 5 BR colonial home in an excellent neighborhood near good schools and her family of origin. I was employed as an executive – money was abundant. There were no external life stressors. We led a Norman Rockwell All-American existence. 2 boys at home, 2 cars in the driveway, a big yard, family vacations at Disney resorts and so on. None of this was ever enough for the BP. She’d rage, then mention the ex-boyfriend and disappear for hours. There were several trips to ERs for the cutting and para-suicides. I was the one dragging the kids from bed, dressing them and shuttling mommy to the hospital, time and again. I cared for the children while she went to AA meetings, therapy, 7-day psych wards, 28-day rehabs and so on.
During the marriage we planned and conceived our 2nd child. A dozen weeks later the BP got angry at something (who knows? she never talked things out – her solution to any conflict was to disappear and do something or someone to feel good). She killed that child.
This is only one of dozens of horrible, emotional and physical abuse episodes. Of course to hear her today you’d assume I was an abusive partner. She forgets she was remanded by the court to 6 months probation at a rehab for her assault and battery upon me. She forgets her adultery. She forgets her passing out drunk while cooking and almost burning the house down. She forgets how the Boston PD transported her with lights and siren to New England Medical Center when she injured herself while intoxicated. In her mind her abortion and adultery was justified and her desertion of her husband and child are reported in legal papers as: “…he is angry with me for leaving a destructive marriage.”
The irony, in my opinion, is in these helping institutions that know nothing of BPD. For example, the Granada House in Allston MA, a new age residential substance abuse rehab where the BP ultimately stayed 18 months, is the place that convinced her it wasn’t booze, drugs or BPD. It was her family of origin and husband. The upshot of that experience? Within 30 days of admittance the BP had a new lover — a fellow patient. Why not? The BP jettisoned her kids, had about $20,000 in assets she stole from the marriage, a low-rent dorm room lifestyle and fresh batch of co-signers to her tale of woe. It was party time.
Present day, the BP characterizes her 3 years with this new man as a long-term. She write: “Eddie is a good man …” omitting this man was arrested, charged and convicted of beating her in July 2003. Two months later, in September of 2003 she invited him to move in with her. Mother than had our son sleep in the same bed as her and the “good” man while she visited in NJ. This resulted in a restraining order prohibiting her from having unrelated males present during visitation. A licensed private investigator produced certified copies of Boston court and police records on Eddie, the BP’s venerated lover: his is an indigent who has 28 convictions including violent crimes and trafficking in cocaine. She loves cocaine. What a coincidence she now loves this man.
I am not a substance abuser. I have no criminal record of any kind. I had one traffic ticket 8 years ago. I held a US government secret clearance, was a paratrooper and was awarded the Army Commendation medal. I was a Life Boy Scout. I’ve been in the employ of 3 of the 100 largest US corporations. Present day, I work at a place that requires a background check and drug screen. I am not defending myself and freely admit I am not a saint. I am however, a decent man and a good father; but, not if you talk to the borderline.
- Non Borderlines – You can purchase 6 ebooks packaged together with or without audio.
- Those with BPD and/or Non Borderlines can purchase A.J. Mahari’s 3 “Core Wound of Abandonment” series ebooks packaged together with or without audio.
Good riddance. I am in full agreement with the statement I heard from a licensed, experienced-with-treating-BPD therapist, as we discussed my walking away from her. He said: “don’t walk away, RUN!”
I hung on far too long. If you are reading this because you love a borderline, I will tell you I didn’t believe what I heard and read either. Somehow, my situation was different, or so I thought. I was encouraged by the 1 in 1000 statistic that a non will read about on a BP site such as this one. Or some heart-warming story of how a BP recovered, began being responsible for their own actions, made amends. Yes. It was that glimmer of hope that there would come a day when, if for no other reason than the well-being of our son, my ex and I could have a dialogue again.
Loving them doesn’t help, being nice doesn’t help either. They use love to manipulate you. Ultimately legal entanglements (false accusations) and false-start divorce cases, theft-by-deception and all sort and manner of grief and loss await you. I am a lucky — I survived. I got out. I moved 300 miles away and this worked. I believe it was a borderline who coined the “out of sight, out of mind” maxim. Borderlines have difficulty with object constancy, this phenomenon operates without fail – it allows a new wife of 8 months to commit adultery while she’s out at an AA meeting. Getting some distance allowed my BP to focus on getting her needs met by some other non-savvy man.
Hope for it getting better from this point?
Not one iota. In the years from 1998 until today, the BP has yet to admit any wrong-doing. She has blamed and rationalized, but never a tear of remorse or an apology. In court, I watched her cry for a dog she put to sleep rather than walk it and show it affection, but when her abortion was mentioned, she felt justified in her actions. She is still, incapable of feeling empathy – confused that the baby’s father (and her husband at that time) could care about that new life and feel hurt by her actions.
Not a single utterance of culpability for anything, however no shortage of blame. In written certified statements on file with the court she swears she was “forced to drink so he could control me.” and she alleges she was coerced into the marriage: “while dating …he bought me nice things and took me to fancy restaurants.” Yes. Those are verbatim quotes presented here, in context. To be clear, my BP-ex isn’t ignorant; she holds a BA with high honors from a reputable New England Catholic university.
If my ex-wife typifies a Borderline, I must conclude that borderlines do not form human bonds because they are unable feel love. They simply stay near people that can meet their needs at that moment in time. No capability for self-sacrifice or post-gratification.
© A Father, ex-husband and survivor of a Borderline wife – From New Jersey