Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Kids and The BPD

When you're in a relationship with a BPD, you know that things are strange. You don't realize how out-of-whack it is until you hear from your children, years later, about what the BPD was telling them:

"She [the BPD] said that you were cheating on her with another woman."

That's where the line is drawn. Say what you want to me. Say something like that to my kid and we're DONE.

I didn't hear this until the BPD and were long over--at least one year over, if not more. If I had known that she had said such things to my kids, things would have changed immediately.

Getting yourself out of these kinds of situations are tough, but you need to draw the line. When I heard this, I was furious. Absolutely furious.

The BPD said one time that my kids are a bunch of mental patients. They're not -- they're actually quite well-adjusted and are top-of-their class in terms of academics and intelligence.

It doesn't matter. She said that about my kids. I loved on her kids like there was no tomorrow, overcompensating for the girls' losing their father and unstable mother.

The BPD had a good relationship overall with the kids. They liked her overall, she interacted well with them, but she clearly had times where she stepped over lines that she should not. Again, such as shame.

Be careful of Borderlines and stepping over these boundaries. Have clear boundaries; if the BPD in your life steps over them, have actions that you are willing to take in response to this.

My kids know that the BPD had issues -- they know the 'crazy eyes'. Ironically, since my youngest daughter was about two, we used to say to her "give me crazy eyes" and she could make the wild-eyed look that they have.

Now that she's ten, she has stopped having that ability.

Her eyes can only be normal now.


  1. Hello. Your experiences sound so familiar. They "sound" familiar. I was together with a man for six years whose ex wife of 25 apparently hellish years suffered from BPD. Our relationship had also been very very difficult, because of the level of broken-ness resulting in all of this trauma. By the end I woke up and realized: he really thinks I am his ex-wife! I am not a particularly angry or aggressive person. I did grow up in a very hurtful home though, but I have broken my ties with my family and spent a lot of time and energy trying to heal this in therapy. I have no fear of conflict, but I do generally appreciate harmony in the home. Nobody screams, hits or emotionally degrades anybody in my home. My children been never been spanked or belittled. That is why I was (and still am) so very very shocked and hurt by his accusations. He has a zero tolerance for 1) anger, 2) negativity, 3) conflict of any kind. He is extremely sensitive. But, unfortunately I am a mere mortal and sometimes I have been angry, negative or have had issues to be discussed/be critical of in our partnership. In my opinion appropriate anger, appropriate conflict. He accused me of "coming out of nowhere" with "absurd anger and resentments". I have never screamed at him or yelled, belittled him or attacked him. Quite the opposite, because I know how sensitive he is, I had always tried to keep a level and fair tone, tried to only bring up issues that really really hurt me, and avoided at all costs any kind of escalation. A losing battle you can imagine. My feelings behind the words, were emotionally charged, I'll admit. Anger is still anger, even if you try to make it as non destructive as possible. Still, he has always maintained that I was at times unexpectedly aggressive and abusive, and manipulative. My anger, or rather the fact that I was angry at all was always inappropriate.
    (on a side note, due to the level of damage in his family, his primary interest was never our relationship, it was always about the guilt he felt towards his children for what they went through, and he could never deny them any wish, no matter how absurd it seemed, and often at the cost of our relationship, and often disrespectful of my or my childrens needs. He demanded complete understanding from me, and if I doubted or was unhappy with his priorities, then clearly I was a very selfish person making him "choose between his children and me".) I am angry at myself that I let someone treat my family and myself so disrespectfully.
    In so many ways he was a loving and wonderful, generous person. In so many ways was this someone I wanted to keep in my life (or I wouldnt have tried to make it work for many many years) He was rarely critical of me, always supportive, a loyal and loving companion. But not available. He was never "gonna let someone rule his life again". That meant he decided whether we spent time together, or not, how long. Everything in our partnership was conditional. His conditions. But it was all very very subtle. I didnt want to see what was going on. contd.

  2. cont'd
    And even now, after it is over (by me) I still am so hurt and confused. Was I really inappropriately angry? (highly emotional at times, yes, but aggressive? It was truly frustrating being together with him, and with time I was resentful. But, was that wrong?) Did I ask for too much? Am I perhaps a borderliner and nobody but him realized? (I am pretty sure I am not. I hope I am in a position to judge this, but I have gone through the checklists etc, and it really doesnt look like it.) Is he maybe right, and I am the one with the problem (I sabotage relationships, I have so much anger, I am so unpredictable in my moods????) I feel like something isnt right, I want to be loyal to myself, but... but I am really insecure. I am not the calmest person, but I am not a volatile aggressor either...
    Maybe you can shed some light on this. You have survived a borderline marriage, and you have a new partner. Maybe you can tell me: is it me? Or is he really just traumatized and really not able to read and judge healthy emotional signals. Is this usual for the ex to be "hyper-sensitive" to these issues? Can I go on with my life not fearing my next relationship because I am not secretly "wildly crazy"? Sometimes I feel so relieved that its over, even though we shared lots of good times. Sometimes I think: jeez, he is sooooo wrong about things. But is he?

  3. Are you referring to eyes about to pop out of head wide open looking? Crazy eyes. I thought that was something my mom got I didn't realize it was particular to BPD.

  4. Cooper, the eyes don't have to be just from Borderlines -- Those with thyroid issues can also have the eyes that pop out of their heads.

    Anonymous -- you have a painful story, but the fact that you're questioning all of these things makes me think that you don't suffer from BPD. Of course, I can't tell fully from what you've written as a professional would need to fully evaluate your situation.

    Give yourself time to heal -- let your sense of right and wrong get re-established. Spend some time by yourself and just chill. I know that it's tough, but the person you were with probably had some Post Traumatic Stress Disorder happening, which he passed onto you. Unless he committed to healing and going through the process, he was probably re-living scripts from his marriage.

    Things will get better for you. Spend some time on your own and let yourself heal. If you need professional counseling, go -- not to validate your sane-ness, but rather to heal your wounds so you can get back to a state of contentment.

    Remember, the goal is to be content. Seek that out and the rest will follow.

    If you're not spiritual, become spiritual. Go back to church. Church is full of broken people, works in progress, that will help heal your soul.

    Best of luck. Keep us up-to-date as you heal.

  5. Hi, thanks for the kind words. I know that I dont have BPD, but I dont think my ex knows this. (lo!) All the same, I think that you know what its like when you get the responsibility for things which arnt your fault. He was in a damaging relationship for 25 (!) years. How naive of me to think he'd be in great enough shape to be with me? But we seek our partners out, and they dont disappoint our expectations. At first when I wrote to you, I was looking for clues as to if this kind of placement of attributes on a new partner is common. (I think they call it "transference".) After reading in your site, reading lots about narcissism and even more about co-dependance, I realized I have been in way over my head. And for six years. It hasnt been hell on earth but it hasnt been easy. And so by no, I just dont care anymore if it is common or normal or whatever. I think it is important to stop still trying to "fix" something I cant and something I didnt break. (which I now realize, it really wasnt me) I would like to get back to being the wonderful fun exciting person I used to be and stop giving up my freedoms and my joy by trying keep making him feel comfortable at all costs. I want to be in the middle ground again. MY middle ground.
    And I do have to apologize about writing you such longs posts, I just couldnt seem to send you an e-mail. (the address was rejected, go figure) I almost feel embarrassed having them posted up there (feel free to remove them if you want) They were so full of all that clarifying gunk in your head that happens when you are trying to figure out if you are doing the right thing...But it does look pretty messy on paper.(or in this case, on the web)
    I had ended our relationship, and even if its an understatement to state it this way, because: our partnership wasnt working out. No heros, no bad guys, just a lot of relationship stuff which is hard. For all involved. I think everyone can relate to that.
    Thanks again for your wonderful brave insights into life with a borderline. I am sure that many have profited from these post. I know I have. I have much more compassion for my ex and even for his ex (must be hell to be her, to be that destructive and lost, not an excuse, but she is sick and suffering) But, still it doesnt make me want to go back to him , this compassion. I think some things people have to do on their own.
    Stay brave and


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