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My therapist thinks DW has BPD

paul_in_utah's picture

Over the last few weeks, thinks have been pretty bad at home. It all started when DW decided to move SD20 (Porky) back into our house, after SD was separated from the Army for "unspecified" medical reasons. We had huge rows over this, which I've documented in prior posts. Porky and her husband Taco eventually decided to move in with Porky's grandmother, after some ugliness related to the move-in process. DW had said "if they leave, I leave," but ended up backing down, and has not left the house. After a week, Porky & Taco are still living with Porky's grandmother, aka BitchMotherInLaw.

I started seeing a therapist after all of this started, and based on what I related to her, she thinks that DW may have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This would explain a lot, and I definitely see some of the traits (extreme reactions over fear of me abandoning her, stormy relationships, spending sprees,binge eating, feelings of worthlessness, etc.). Some of the traits I don't see, such as physical violence or self-injury. However, on balance, I think that the therapist may be right, and this would go a long way towards explaining DW's intense need for Porky's companionship and approval.

My question for the group is this: for those who have dealt with BPD, what did you do? Did you find any approaches that helped? For the longest time, I thought that most of our problems were my fault, for not being supportive enough of DW, but now I'm starting to think that it runs a lot deeper than that.

LikeMinded's picture

Hi Paul,

I can't comment on the BPD, I've been around many other mental health conditions, but not that one.

I just wanted to congratulate you on taking a stand and not letting Porky into your house. I'm also happy that you are seeing a therapist for yourself!

Another note: I would still consider leaving this woman, you are not happy with her. Your years on this earth are way more valuable than any money you might have to pay in alimony.

I know you said you don't feel attractive enough to go out there and try to find someone, but I can assure you both me and my DH felt very unattractive after our divorces... and it turns out, we weren't.

There is no reason for you to stay with these mean, mean, mean people!

robin333's picture

Very good advice. Your years left should be happy, regardless of how much you would pay in alimony.

And remember, stop thinking of yourself as unattractive. Women find different things attractive.

z3girl's picture

I don't necessarily think it's wrong or enabling for a therapist to suggest your spouse has issues, but it can't be a true diagnosis without them ever meeting the person. That said, even if your DW has BPD, it doesn't matter if she doesn't acknowledge any issues herself; nothing will ever change.

I suggest trying to make an exit strategy unless you think you would be happier as things are. If you are truly miserable, and changing how you react to issues doesn't help, then you need to make a bigger change. It's not the end of the world to be alone for a while. Good things can happen when you least expect them. Wink

NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

I swear the stepkids BM has BPD! I've said it for years. I was just reading over your laundry list saying "check, check, check, check.." and yes if she really does have it, you're screwed.

Snowflake's picture

I agree with the other posters. BPD is very hard to diagnose and especially from a person who has never met your wife.

After my husband and I being in therapy for a year over step and ex issues, the psychologist said that it highly probable that BM has BPD. It is a possibility of course, but I took it with a grain of salt.

If you think she may, then you may have to cut ties. It is hard, but the only thing you can do for your own sanity.

paul_in_utah's picture

Agree with all the posts about not being able to diagnose BPD from afar. The therapist was just stating a possibility, not a firm diagnosis.

I am staying for now, but at the same time, I am drawing up my exit strategy. I want this to work, but I'm not going to stick around forever if things are always going to be this bad. At least Porky and Taco are bothering BitchMotherInLaw, not me!

Cadence's picture

A therapist cannot diagnose someone who they have never spoken to with BPD.

However, I will tell you that I saw my SO's ex-wife, and knew something wasn't right with her. After a while I connected the dots. I suspect a combination of BPD/NPD.

And, when things got tough, my SO and I saw a couples therapist. Without saying anything of my suspicions, based on the description of her behaviors and choices, our couples counselor said that it sounds like she might have a personality disorder.

So, the peanut gallery is correct that someone cannot be diagnosed by a mental health professional whom they have never met, there are sets of behaviors that align with various illnesses that can lead one to believe that there is a possibility of the disorder.

If I met someone who said "My mom has Type I diabetes, and I am thirsty all of the time, and going to the bathroom all of the time" I'd tell them to go to their doctor to be tested for diabetes because it sounds like they may have it. The deductive process is the same when it comes to mental illness; it's not a diagnosis, however if there are a consistent set of symptoms, it's not hard to say "It sounds like ____." This is much different than diagnosing someone.

Your therapist did not suggest BPD in order to diagnose or treat your wife via you; s/he suggested it in order for you to be able to back up a bit and see the big picture of what you're dealing with. You can get so caught up in each battle as it happens that you can't see the forest for the trees. Your counselor didn't diagnose your wife. S/he told you his/her suspicions so that you could inform yourself and make your own decision. Knowledge is power and if you knwo what you're dealing with, you can base you decisions accordingly.

BPD people are emotional parasites who suck their partner-victims dry. Their partners lose momentum to even try to leave. So, if you can see that your wife may have a permanent problem, and that calm time that you've been hoping will arrive (for how many years now) will never arrive because she's not capable of leaving drama and poor choices behind her, then you are empowered.

Do your own research and step back and decide if you agree. If you do, then take a look at what you're in for. Then make decisions accordingly.

SM12's picture

BPD is a tough one to live with. My XH was diagnosed after I was sure for years he suffered from it. It took me forcing him to go see a therapist for the diagnosis. He only took the meds for a week, drank while on them and lied to me about it all. He refused treatment, denied he had it and was impossible to live with.
That and the 10 years of hell ended our marriage. If he wasn't going to comply with treatment, I wasn't going to stick around and deal with him.
He would go from constantly on the go, up all night, manic phase until he would lose his cool and temper over the smallest thing. After he would lose his temper, he would go into a deeply depressed stage and sleep non stop, refuse to leave the house and withdraw from life. The length of times in either stage would vary. But it was pure hell.

Amcc13's picture

But when she wanted to move porky and taco in and you said okay I leave and she called your bluff and you spent a week in hotel??? She didn't have issues with you maybe abandoning her then???

paul_in_utah's picture

I didn't end up spending time in the hotel - I came back the same day. I know, I'm a wuss.

Her "fear of abandonment" is manifested in things like not letting me have friends, trying to restrict my interactions with my parents, restricting the amount of time I can spend doing activities outside of the house that don't include her, guilt-tripping me if I don't want to spend all evening watching TV with her, if it is something we've already seen 100 times, etc.

Elizamen's picture

Hi - long time lurker - first time poster so be kind.....

Your therapist is making an observation based on what you are reporting. Your DW needs to see a therapist for an accurate diagnosis to be made. But it's kind of like when you tell someone your symptoms and they say, "Oh it sounds like when I had XYZ". It's not a diagnosis until confirmed by a doctor but it's a good place to start.

Icansorelate's picture

Oh boy, borderlines are tough. Read up on divorcing a boderline before your go that route- they will make it hell especially if you are in a state that will enable their rage and sense of entitlement.

My serious suggestion to you is to establish residency in a state that does not have onerous alimony.

notsobad's picture

From reading online and talking to others I'm sure that BM is a high conflict BPD narcissist. But that's only from the articles and examples I've read online. She fits most everything, except that she really loves her children. They are trophies and she uses them to reflect herself but in the end I think she loves them.

This is by no way or means a diagnosis of BM but it did give me insight on how to deal with her. So, I would suggest that you read up on BPD and apply what you read. Use what works and discard what doesn't. In the end you want a happy life. It may be possible to achieve that and not lose everything you own.
You may even find that you can live with her, and that may be the best for you in the end. Only you can decide that.

This is the one life you get, make the most of it.

still learning's picture

If she does have BPD and all the issues you described then you must be one sick masochistic individual for diving head first into the marriage. In dysfunctional relationships there is generally an aggressor and a enabler who then cries victim. Which one are you?

I have learned to run far away from men who claim that their wives/gf/exes are/were "crazy." All that tells me is that I'm dealing with a jerk.

Step-monster89's picture

as someone with bpd the best advice i can give is just be there for her. it will be hard for you but just love her! show her that you arent going anywhere and that you support her. alot of times with bpd we feel out of control of our own lives, thoughts, ect. so sometimes, not all, its just comforting to know that we have someone with the good and the bad!