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Does anyone have any experience with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Karma_'s picture

Has anyone had experience with a skid or bio suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder?

StepMadre's picture

Yes!!! Me! My skids's mom has BPD and I have been through a lot because of this. She was diagnosed, but refuses to get treatment or take medication (she claims that the Ph.D. counselor was full of crap and was wrong, a common reaction from diagnosed BPD'ers). Even if the person in your life is undiagnosed, you can look up the criteria in the DSMVII and if they have five of the seven traits then you can be pretty sure that is what's going on, even if it's not official. No one but a licensed professional that has seen the patient for enough time to get a full picture of their personality and issues can make a diagnosis, but if you have someone who is acting like they have BPD, but isn't diagnosed, you can still read up on BPD and use the coping methods recommended to deal with the person.

Women have BPD a lot more frequently than men (75% of BPDers are women) and I personally think (this is just my opinion) that there is a higher concentration of BPD or women who exhibit BPD characteristics on this site because I think that women with BPD tend to have turbulent relationships and have a very hard time maintaining a relationship. Because they are so hard to deal with, they are abandoned and rejected a lot more than women without BPD. Impulsiveness is a huge component of BPD, along with erratic and unpredictable behavior. Unplanned pregnancies happen a lot with women with BPD because they impulsively decide to get pregnant, or they are erratic with using birth control, or they try to trap their partner with a baby or any other reason along these lines. This is not the case with all women with BPD, but I have noticed that this is very common with them. In my situation, the BM got pregnant the first time just as H was getting ready to dump her. They were both very young and neither were ready, emotionally or financially, to have a baby. She stopped taking birth control, lying to H about it, so that she would get pregnant. Her intention was to make H stay with her by having his baby. To her surprise, H went ahead and broke up with her anyway (and the pregnancy made him even more eager to break up with her). He stayed involved with the baby and helped her through the pregnancy. He was there when the baby was born and had 50/50 custody from the start. Dealing with a co-parent that had BPD was not easy and he has had to deal with it for eleven years.

What kind of BPD behavior is going on in your situation? I have known other people with BPD, but most of my personal experience comes from my BM. She is emotionally unstable, she is impulsive with money and is unable to budget or pay her bills because of this, she lies frequently, she is completely unpredictable and has stunning mood changes that can happen from second to second, she is very manipulative and will say anything to get what she wants, she is unable to use logic, she has black and white thinking where people are either evil or angels, she has no self-esteem but tries to project fake extremely high self-esteem but can't pull it off, she lies to herself to the point that she is disassociating from her own life, she has massively strong denial and genuinely appears to believe the opposite of what is blatantly obvious, she has a very hard time with any kind of relationship including family relationships, she has a difficult time with friendships and has almost no friends, the friends that she has are as messed up or more so than her, she is impulsive when it comes to sex and will sleep with any guy that shows her the slightest bit of attention, she is narcissistic and histrionic and genuinely thinks that everything and everyone revolves around her, she projects herself on to her children and sees them as an extension of herself rather than separate people and she is very erratic as a parent-sometimes smothering them with overblown affection and sometimes losing her temper or crying uncontrollably to the point that they are terrified.

What she doesn't have that is typical of BPD is suicidal impulses. She doesn't seem to have clinical depression which sometimes accompanies BPD, but she is a very unhappy person regardless. Many people with BPD will be suicidal at times and euphorically manic at other times.

Child skids are unlikely to manifest BPD even if they may develop it later in life. You may be able to see evidence of BPD in teenagers and you can definitely see it in fully developed adults.

I was completely unexperienced when I first got together with my husband and didn't know how to react or cope with BM. I treated her as if she was a psychologically normal person, which she is not and I caused myself a lot of agony because I dealt with her incorrectly. One tactic that works very well with BMs with BPD is using a low or no contact policy. Depending on how out of control she is there are a lot of things you can do to minimize interaction. BMs with BPD want and seek out interaction and attention from you or your DH and will go to great lengths to get it. They want attention from you guys even if it is negative. They crave conflict and drama. You will not be able to change the BM, but you can set clear boundaries and change how you react to her. It is soooo easy to get sucked in to the drama, but this never resolves anything and just feeds the beast, so to speak.

Depending on your individual situation, you can create a policy that you will only discuss subjects directly related to your children and anything negative will be ignored. You can limit you and your hubby's conversations with her to email if necessary. This also gives you evidence if you need it for future court situations-always save all emails to and from BM for your records.

In person and on the phone, staying as aloof and unemotional as possible will help a lot. Keep your tone neutral and calm when talking to her (my hubby has a piece of jade that he holds in his hand during BM convos that helps him stay focused on the point of the call) BM tries her best to draw him out and get him to talk/argue about other things, but he always sticks to the point. If BM raises her voice, name calls, or starts ranting about something, H calmly tells her that he is hanging up because she is raising her voice, name calling etc... and he hangs up! It works like a charm and BM doesn't try to cause trouble on the phone anymore (for the most part). He refuses to talk to her unless she stays respectful and sticks to the point.

We have a no personal chat rule as well and if BM asks about H or I, H responds by saying, "I don't discuss my personal life. Do you have anything relating to the skids that you need to say?" and if BM makes a comment about me, H or our relationship (usually something extremely nasty, intended to get a response) H just ignores her completely and doesn't respond. She tries to bait him and get some sort of a response, but as tempting as it is, ignoring this is absolutely the best thing to do because her whole goal is to get a reaction. H also does not pick up the phone when BM calls and lets her leave a voicemail. If the message is skid related he listens and calls her back to discuss the skids, but if it is unimportant rambling and she does not need a callback about the skids or if she is calling for un-skid related reasons, H ignores her and doesn't call her back. After almost two years, she has finally given up for the most part and sticks to skid issues. One other tactic that BMs with BPD use is that when being antagonistic doesn't work, they often try to get attention and a reaction by acting nice. They might try to give you presents or do personal favors for you. Do not accept anything from the BM, no matter how innocent or harmless it may seem. The absolute best policy is to completely keep your interactions with the BM impersonal and business-like.

If the BM is violent or harasses you, take pictures, call the police and document, document, document. You can use it against her in court later. No matter what, don't let her goad you into reacting to her, this is what she wants. She will eventually give up if she consistently gets no reaction from you.

She will try every trick in the book to get you to react. She will tell the skids bad things about you or H, she might spread rumors, gossip, write hateful letters or emails, send crazy texts, etc... She will also try to mess with your time with the skids. Stick to the court ordered schedule and contact your lawyer if she violates it.

Basically, it is really important to set clear boundaries with her and enforce them. I know from experience that it's really easy to get sucked into her black hole and to engage in nasty dialogue, by email, letter, by phone, through the skids and in person. Use every last ounce of self-control you have and rise above her and don't take the bait. Your husband has to see eye to eye on this with you and you need to be a united front with the BM.

Please feel free to PM if you have any questions about BPD or ways to cope with someone with it. I'm not a professional expert, but I have had a lot of experience with this and I have made a lot of mistakes that I have learned from and I would be more than happy to help you out in any way that I can.

"The truth shall set you free." ~John 8:32

reeny511's picture

This is my situation exactly. Stepmadre you hit it right on the nail! I though I was the only one in this circumstance. BM loves drama, is a pathological liar, cant keep a job or friends or any boyfriends. The only reason she hasn't gotten pregnant again is because of some ovary issues. I dont know how these people survive in society. I definitely have to look into BPD some more. Thank you!

bearcub25's picture

I have been reading your posts (and others who are dealing with this) very closely. I think BPD is what BM and maybe SS9 have. I was actually going to blog today and ask someone to explain further or provide me with useful links to read up on it.

I have always noticed BF doesn't engage BM when she calls, I wondered about that but I see that maybe the best thing, I don't talk with her at all. She was pretty bad for a few years, calling and stopping at his work and it was always drama and personal stuff. But she has gotten better and doesn't seem to involve BF like she used to for whatever reason. But reading what you just posted is making me think things in a totally diff light.

There has never been a formal diagnosis with SS9. He goes to BM's doc, who is known in this town as the quack or pill dispenser, who just gives him antis to keep him down. I try and read about different behavioral issues, and thought he may have ODD (oppositional defiance disorder), but I can see some things with BPD too.

BF and I can't do anything with the info, but for some reason I am very interested in this type of thing.

Thanks to all for bringing this subject to light and explaining.

Catlover's picture

I am a licensed clinical Social Worker with 10 years of mental health experience under my belt. I became the clinician who got most of the "BPD clients" because I had the most experience. I've also worked extensively as a certified trainer of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy in my region (a great therapeautic way of dealing with the disorder). Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

"Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get me"

IAMTHEMOM's picture

Are there distinct differences between BPD and Bipolar? I find them to be similar.. -IAMTHEMOM

Wicked.Step.Monster's picture

Many years back I was diagnosed Bipolar II and borderline personality. I have since been declared "recovered" (as opposed to cured... lol) for over 8 years now. PM me if I can help you in any way.

Life as a borderline is hell but until the lightbulb goes off that 'hey, there is something WRONG with me' then you can forget about getting better. You have to recognize it, accept it, and treat it. But a person CAN recover from it.

chaoticsteplife's picture

Like reeny511 said, this is exactly my situation too.
BM has exactly all the symptoms and there have been many interventions to try and get her help in the past but she is in denial and has refused treatment or went through with very little.(ex:starts meds and stops two weeks later)
Boyfriend and I have been dealing with her exactly the way you describe is best and it is truly the only way to survive and protect your relationship and the kids.
You can read the blog I posted about BM attacking me, it will give you a idea of what she is capable of!
We have been through so much, I could write several books about it!!
Thank you for posting this, it is so important and I think alot of people don't know that this might be what they are living with regarding their ex's....and once you know and understand, then you can strategize and react so much better to these "ugly " situations.
Again, thank you for posting this and sharing your knowledge and experience.

toriandred's picture

Wow, this was very helpful to me! DH's ex sounds just like that. One minute she can be nice and let us have all the contact we want with the skids. Then the next she is spouting out horrible things. When DH wouldn't defend me on the bad things she has said I did get mad at first. Lately I've learned to just bite my tongue on most things. I know she does it to get a rise out of us and we don't give it to her. It took probably 7 or 8 years for her to finally stop calling me names, such as "That thing" and "B*tch". I, more than likely, will have to deal with another round of her insanity soon with the situation she is trying to put us in.
Thanks for posting this Smile Now I know there is a little hope to dealing with this.