Monday, December 14, 2009

BPD Intimacy: Can Borderlines Be Intimate?

I've thought quite a bit about this and asked myself this question quite a bit -- can you be intimate with a borderline?

Before we move too far down this path. Let's define intimacy. We all think that intimacy is sex, but that's not *true* intimacy. Anyone can have sex, particularly the sex that one has on pornographic movies where people are treated as objects.

Miriam-Webster defines intimacy as, "belonging to or characterizing one's deepest nature." This is what I'm addressing. While many think that sex is one's deepest nature, prostitutes, pornography and other avenues clearly show that this is not the case. Being truly intimate with others means that you must make yourself vulnerable.

Being Vulnerable
As someone who makes myself vulnerable to others, I now open myself up to being hurt, abused, treated poorly.

If I'm vulnerable to others, I also open myself up to being loved, treated with amazing respect and reverence, and held in high regard.

For many, being vulnerable is difficult, but if they understand how great the payoff, they would do it more often.

Borderlines loathe themselves, so they won't go beyond the surface with others. They do not want others to know their deepest thoughts and desires because they are so confused, so conflicted and so lost. They cannot make themselves vulnerable, because that fear of abandonment is such a strong motivator for them that they will not go there.

The Borderline's Mirror
The biggest problem with being in a relationship with a borderline is that they make you feel like you are intimate with them. You very well may be intimate with them. This is how they get you. You tell them your deepest dreams, desires and longings, and they mirror these back to you, validating that they too want the same things as you. You suddenly feel like you've met your soul mate.

With my ex BPD, she liked everything that I did:
- She liked the drinks that I drank
- She liked her food cooked the same way
- She liked the same types of houses and decorating
- She liked to ski
- She liked the same music

The list goes on. She wanted to retire in the same place as me, would go fishing with can see the pattern here.

This is how things seemed initially. Over time, she began resenting going fishing with me, would fight with me on the way to the ski slope about everything and anything, and caused constant turmoil.

In the end, the Borderline Mirror is just Smoke and Mirrors.


  1. I think this is what snags many of us. My ex would tell me so many times about how we were "destined" to meet, the "one" for him and he finally found me. Over and over. I fell for it even though looking back now it was, I guess, superficial. I was not able to get to know the real person. Once I started to think I knew, something weird would happen and the rules would change. And he made me really believe that we were the same kind of people. He told me he wanted to do the same thing as me when we retired. I told him I was interested in adopting a child just to help that child. He said "ME TOO! that's a dream of mine!" I told him adventures I wanted to go on. He would way "ME TOO! We were meant to be." "Baby, we have so much in common." That would be said over and over. I'm a hiker, and guess what he said "ME TOO!" I got him to go with me once for one mile before he wanted to go drink beer and take a nap. Then towards the end of our relationship he would say things like "you tried to change me." HUH. No I didn't and I thought he "loved" hiking, fishing, camping and living a "quiet" life. That's what he convinced me of. "Me too." I heard that so much. Then I heard "we have nothing in common" when I got painted black. Mirroring at its finest. And it really killed me when I realized he was mirroring me. I didn't know what I was dealing with and I believed him.

  2. This blog is a Godsend. Thanks for taking the time and energy to share your experiences.

    I am in month three of BPD relationship recovery. Had I known more about it, or even that it existed, I would have used more trepidation while entering my previous relationship.

    My first date with this girl was great, but I was picking up strange vibes from day one. She would speak very quickly, moving from topic to topic, manic-like. It was all I could do to listen, try and keep up and take mental notes as to not seem forgetful and uninterested. I chalked it up to her being excited to be with me.

    After that first date she inundated me with email and texts. They were all very candid, heartfelt, and flattering. She divulged information regarding her dark, traumatic past, and even though these should have been cues for me to stay away, my internal knight-in-shining-armor and stable upbringing convinced me to believe I could save her and show her the good life.

    Ignoring the alarm signals going off in the back of my mind, I moved in with this girl rather quickly. She showered me with attention, flattery and great sex. She said I was "the guy she saw in her dreams", that we were "destined to be together" and that our relationship had been a "self-manifestation of love". I thought to myself "man, she is pouring it on thick", but what was I to do, tell her to stop? Even though I knew it was over the top, she was sucking me further into her twisted void emotional non-existence. --->

  3. Despite my ignorance of BPD, I was familiar with and coincidentally actively studying multiple personality disorder when I met her. After I moved in she agreed to disclose her past more intimately and what she revealed was riddled with extremely sad traumatic experiences at the hands of her father and ex-lovers. At this point, all of my self-preserving rationality was circumvented by the idea of helping this wounded soul.

    After a short honeymoon phase the negative side of BPD behavior started to appear. Unrealistic jealousy, mood swings, constant texts and clinging. She had to be with me as often as possible, and while it seemed endearing, all of the attention she demanded sucked the energy right out of me.

    After about a month, my internal cautionary voice was screaming for me to reconsider my stance in the relationship, but it was too late. It was if I was caught in a tractor beam that I could not break free of.

    Being the level-headed, emotionally sound anchor of the couple, I had somehow convinced myself that I was impervious to the emotional abuse I was subjected to. I kept looking forward to the moment somewhere over the rainbow when our conflicts would subside, our differences would be mended, and we would be dancing in a field of daisies like we had at the beginning of the relationship.

    After a couple of more months of miscommunication, guilt trips and emotional outbursts, the moment somewhere over the rainbow arrived in the form of her cheating on me with her ex-boyfriend, the result of "my" oppressive control over "her". She actually blamed me for her infidelity.

    It was then that all the suppressed emotional reactions within me burst out in an unhealthy form. It was if my inner voice was laughing at me, saying, "See? I told you to stay away!".

    So much of what I read in this blog is as if it was carbon-copied straight from my experience with this woman - the great cuddling (she would insist that I held her every night), exaggerated mirroring (she would even state that we were reflections of each other), development of unique communication practices (something I now believe was a means for her to be assured that I was mirroring HER). The great deception for me was how she handled herself in public and amongst her trusted peers - very charming, friendly, albeit somewhat attention-seeking and conversation dominating.

    Although the relationship was relatively short, I experienced severe mental and emotional damage, most of which centers around the idea of "how could I have been so open, loving, and available to someone who dropped me like a stale half-eaten sandwich?". This being the first experience of its kind for me, I am posed with the odd circumstance of making myself not love someone anymore when in some sick way I still do, or did. It's just so out of character for me to not care about people. Having to force myself to ignore someone I cared so much about is perplexing, despite the obvious logical rationale. It'd be nice if there was a memory data-bank switch that could be flicked to help forget the entire experience, because, ultimately, it is the endearing memories, coupled with the retro-analytical nature of figuring out just what really happened during certain "dubious" verbal communes that make healing seem to take longer than it needs.

    Thanks again for this candid blog.

  4. I am still in a relationship that I suspect has BPD implications. I never know day to day what will happen or how he will feel, act oe if we will be together. He has set out all kinds of 'rules' for me; the same rules don't apply to him. I've learned over the 8 years we've been together to expect just about anything - outbursts over things I've done that he just recently did exactly the same. I've also learned that he expects me to ignore his outbursts, they usually go away without further discussion in a few days. We've broken up many times. I am supposed to LOVE to go where he does, LOVE to be with who he wants to be with, give up 'control' (in other words move away from) my children. He has little interest in joining my world of friends and family. He makes a strong statement of what he wants/expects and forgets it's importance weeks later, all the while, I am living with the new 'rule'; the list of rules is growing everyday. I've found myself not speaking, offering an opinion or telling him about everyday events to avoid angering him. I am an itelligent person with a decision making job that is visible in the community. I am not permitted to discuss my job. He tells me all of our issues are my fault and that none are ours and absolutely NONE of them are his. When things are good, they are very good - he is supportive, loving, giving, caring, fun and funny, social... the list goes on. And when the "other person" shows up, I know it immediately by his facial expressions- he is negative, insulting, critical, demeaning, judgemental and that list goes on. I long for the day that I can say "go away and leave me alone" and live with that.

    1. This sounds like my story exactly! Ive been thinking for the whole 5 years of my turbulent relationship that I wasn't good enough. When he was loving and funny and caring he was the best. However, he couldn't ever keep this up and eventually the 'other side' of him would come out and cut me down to size verbally and cruelly and always over nothing! His reactions to what would be a normal or usual couples' tiff would be so over the top and hurtful. He left me over 8 times during our relationship, all for reasons I don't even know or understand to this day. I have left him now but I still love him and remember all the good loving times-then I also remember the insults and judgements, verbal attacks and scary temper and I know I have done the right thing. Reading your blog was like reading my own story but it really helps to know I'm not alone. Here's to finding happiness and unconditional love.

  5. Im sure anyone whom gets to this point on the blog has googled all, but the BPDs traits are so close to Narcassistic I have come across a number of Narcassistics, sticky, relations, immediate attachment, but far nastier than BPD, im still in a relation with my BPD, daily there is struggle, he is in some therapy now, im not in denial, im going to give it my best shot

  6. The thing about that...well, my BPD would always tell me that he knew he has issues (it was ALL about his issues actually). He would seemingly sincerely attempt at working on them in therapy - but I think he manipulated his therapist as much as he manipulates anyone - which is a lot. The "mirror" action is just awful - in retrospect, when you realize how much you fell for it. The hook for me was those shared passions - that we supposedly loved the same things (and some things I think we did...I think). But later he seemed to tire of many of them and get impatient. I just didn't realize for a long time that so much of it was fake. And after a long marriage with no emotional intimacy he seemed to offer exactly what I had always hoped for. It seemed too good to be true - because it was.

    I gave it my best shot too. I thought I had somehow screwed it all up - and if I just had a chance to love him better it might work. Well, I certainly got that chance - but no amount of love, compassion or empathy was enough. I've learned that I need to give more of that to myself - and less to other people.


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