Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Choosing To Heal After A BPD Relationship

It's difficult, I know. You feel like someone just ripped your heart out, and you're raw. You're tender. The tears won't stop.

Maybe it's been a couple weeks. Maybe a couple months. Maybe a couple years. I recently had someone write me who has been hurting like it was yesterday for over 10 years.

Wow. I was in the relationship for nearly two years, and it's taken me about two years to heal. They say that for a normal relationship, it takes one year for every two years that you're in the relationship, but for those in a disordered relationship, particularly a BPD disordered relationship, I'd say it takes one or two years for every year.


Why Does BPD Healing Take So Long?

Healing from a BPD Relationship takes longer than normal. There is so much dysfunction, so much white noise, so much baggage that a borderline puts into your thoughts and conscience that it takes much longer to understand what is normal after the borderline has put such abnormal thoughts and feelings onto you.

Remember, borderlines project their anxiety, and as a partner of a borderline, you have now internalized the life of a borderline. It's time to clear that out now. It takes quite some time.

You can heal. You have to make the choice, then actually do it.

How To Heal After a BPD Relationship

First, make the decision to heal. If you just leave the relationship, you will heal, but it will take even longer. You must make the conscious decision to heal. If you do this, you are recognizing that you are having issues and will consciously seek help.

Next, determine whether you need to see a professional. I saw one for approximately two months after the relationship with the BPD ended (see the posts on Valerie and Counseling for other fun stories regarding seeing professionals with a psychotic person who has no true concept of reality). It helped me reach a point of feeling content and being comfortable with myself (you can see exactly how I was feeling here).

Next, learn about the healing process so you can understand what you're going through. You need to understand the emotions that you're feeling and know which ones are normal and which ones aren't. If you have a support group that you can join, by all means, join. Alanon is the group that many Nons join, so you may want to check out a group like this. Or, you can start meeting new friends and there are Non groups on Meetup.com as well.

At this point, you need to be clearing out all old negative memories and replacing them with new ones. They don't need to be romantic, but you need to start living life and realizing how great life can be. Plan an adventure. Go away. Go for fun excursions, be it running or a bike ride or a hiking adventure. Learn to love life here. You deserve it.

When you're ready, it's time to start dating as well. This site has a list of some of the top dating sites, some that I've used, some that I haven't. I met Jennie, my future wife, on match.com, even though we knew each other from high school. When it's time, it's time.

With that said, remember that you're still healing and it will take you time to heal. People that you date need to understand this too and respect your need to heal. If they don't or start telling you, "I feel like there are three people in this relationship," make it one person in the relationship and move on.

Why? You're not at a point where stuffing old feelings as you heal is healthy for you, at all. They will come out later in undesirable ways. This is important. There are many other people that will love you and let you heal.

If you are not spiritual, you are going to need to develop your spiritual side as well. As humans, we have a spiritual element, and a fully developed spiritual side will keep us more well-rounded and more aware of those suffering from mental illness such as BPD. It's good practice, so do it. Join a church, synagogue or the spiritual affiliation of your choice. Just do it -- you'll be glad that you did.

You Can Heal and Recover From a BPD Relationship

It's not easy, but you can't let a relationship take you down. We're humans and we have many relationships in our lives. If you do the work and follow the steps outlined here, you will emerge a much stronger, more confident and self-assured person. This is critical for your growth.

Looking back, I'm happy that I went through the relationship with the borderline woman. I learned so much from myself that I wouldn't have learned that I can now appreciate so much more about life and myself. The journey is a good one -- if we let it be that way.


  1. Thanks for sharing,this is helpful.

  2. As I search to recover the fragments of myself to mend the broken parts of me I know I'm not alone after reading your blog. My spirituality is keeping me sane and helping me rebuild, but I still hurt. The mind of a BP is so different from the normal processes that we find in most people and recovering from this lost world is difficult and strengthening. The fear is my greatest challenge at this point; fear of them and my place in the world. While I fear their life continues as normal. I understand the dynamics of the illness and realize there is nothing I can do but heal. I do know I will be stronger and I too am grateful for the relationship as it has made me review the things that allowed me to attract such an individual into my world in the first place. Thank you for the blog and the opportunity to share my struggle.

  3. I've been in a couple different friendships, & have a relative with BPD. For some reason, I seem to attract them. Not fun. After seriously enforcing boundaries with my relative & using random cut-offs over the years, severing ties with one of the two friends, and continually making my way towards doing the same with the other friend I finally feel as though I'm starting to get a grip on removing them from my immediate life. It's not an easy thing to do, but it's necessary.

    There is a point when you realize that you need to love yourself more than you love them.....and that you need to protect yourself.....and to do that you need to take back the power in the relationship...by cutting them out completely, setting & enforcing boundaries, etc. It's not an easy task. Borderlines are convinced that their reality is the only reality. If you agree with them it's all wine & roses. If you disagree it's a different story - you're the one with the problem not them.

    Just recently I had a discussion with my borderline friend about the reasons behind why she is cheating with her ex husband while he's in a relationship with another woman. She lost her cool, labeled me, and then went on to basically say that I am the one with the problems....even though she is the one posting pics & songs about she & her ex husband on her FB account. When I tried to say that I was just being a friend by saying that she deserves someone who could love her with complete honesty & fidelity she went off the deep end.

    The facts are that these people are experts at brain washing. I've just recently been told by the one that I'm working on cutting out of my life that I'm judgmental, critical, needy, and intense. At first, I was questioning myself, but then after consulting with several of my friends & family who have known me for over 20 years, and knowing myself better than anyone else does I am completely convinced that it was nothing more than her projecting her feelings for herself onto me. I won't lie. It's hard to hear someone you care about telling you that you're the epitome of all that you have tried not to be - very hard....but.....I've come to realize that the traits she listed do not describe me at all - they depict her.

    Stay strong, remember who you are, & know that you will get past this. It just takes time.

  4. I have been separated from my Borderline(w) for nearly 2 years now. We were together for over 8 years. We have an 8 yr old boy together.When i first met her, i thought she was perfect,very attractive, intelligent, great sense of humor, kind, down to earth ect.
    Soon after we met i felt something was not quite right with her, but couldn't put it in perspective. Soon after,she fell pregnant to our son, what followed from there was until now a nightmare. besides loving my son unconditionally, the relationship has been the most confusing and emotionally draining experience. I only learned that my ex has BPD about 5 months ago; if i discovered that a lot earlier, it would have saved me a lot of pain and confusion. i used to try and work out why i was feeling the way i did, but could never see any clear reason, i just new something was wrong.

  5. Holy cow, what a roller coaster! My BPD partner of 5 years finally ended it tonight. I have been trying to make this happen for the past seven months to avoid his stalking behavior when it was I who ended the relationship.
    On the drive home I didn't feel sad but I felt empty and scared; I have spent the last couple of hours trying to figure out what he has provided me with over the last five years that I am afraid to lose and so far I can't come up with anything! Financially, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically he was nothing but a black hole of need...and yet his words still hurt, his absence makes me feel insecure, and my self worth as a woman is shaken.
    Three years ago I recognized that his abusiveness was affecting his children who I had come to love so I made a decision to step fully into the storm to advocate for them and give them at least some oasis from the confusion of BPD chaos of both their mother and father. I was the adult, they were kids, I was better equiped to handle the abuse. I have to say that no matter how clear I was about why I was there and who I was I was not prepared for the intensity of the experience. I have come away shell shocked and feeling a deep need to recover from experiences I haven't even sorted through.
    The kids are in college and have a long road of personal recovery ahead of them. I have my own recovery to do.
    It is a daunting and exciting path I am contemplating. I crave stability, positive world views, having friends without fearing for their exposure to the BPD's anger or the ramifications of even having friends. I look forward to a day without dealing with a 6'4" bear of a man one minute screaming in my face that I am all manner of evil and vile things and an hour later telling me I am his world and his angel.
    I look forward to making plans that are not changed on an emotional whim, not keeping so vigilant about my own safety and those of children that I cannot concentrate on my life as an individual, having personal space and boundaries that are not framed as secrets, abandonment, and crazy.
    I used to like myself quite a bit, I look forward to getting to know myself again and getting back to the me I enjoyed so much.
    I believe it is possible to be happy again and so I will be. I am not as enthusiastic about being in a relationship again and that strikes me as sad; but some small part of me believes that it is possible and that is enough to, in time, to give opportunity and hope.

  6. I was involved with a BPD woman for a little over a year. It's been about five weeks since our "break-up". Our "break-up" was mandated by the court system because she physically attacked me and the police were involved. At that point I had no idea what BPD was. The court ordered her to have no contact with me for nine months, the period of her probation. This has turned out to be divine intervention. Without the legal entanglement, I truly believe I would have been financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually bankrupt by now. Or worse. I loved her so much, and a part of me always will. But allowing myself to feel the anger and the hurt of what has transpired over the last year actually feels good and healing. The tears flow spontaneously at least once a day. This woman has left a trail of collateral damage that seems to be beyond measure, and my heart actually goes out to all of her former victims. Even though I don't know them personally, I feel like we have this shared bond of hurt and frustration. She is so captivating,intelligent, and beautiful, yet so dangerous. Some of her former victims actively seek her out to give it another "try". She is with one (or more) of them already. NOT me, NOT ever. I have more respect for myself and for my children (from a former relationship) than that. Somehow the victims always think it's their fault for what happened. Everything I have read about BPD women is true in my case, I just cannot believe I was so naive (and I am 51!) and gullible to fall for it. And I wasn't even looking! Anyway, I just want to focus on healing now (as I said the tears flow almost everyday and for no apparent reason), and when am ready I get involved again in a romantic relationship, I will be stronger, smarter, and more fully capable of giving AND likewise, receiving. I hope this makes sense. Again my heart goes out to all of you out there, the victims (life will get better, I promise) and the BPD's (I pray that your suffering will end so you can actively stop the cycle of madness your illness perpetrates upon the world). God bless you all.

  7. My ex-bpd is back in jail now for the same charge that they filed against her in my case - domestic assault. It seems since our "break-up" she has been involved with at least five or six different guys, and now she apparently assaulted one of them. The judge is not going to be a happy man. For the most part I have turned the corner and have begun the process of rebuilding myself, relationships with my children, friends, and family, and businesses. All these things took a huge hit in last year. The only reason I know of this assault incident is that the police actually called me for help in locating my ex, whom I have not spoke to since the April 15 (the night of her arrest). They found her and arrested her. My point is that I am getting on with my life, slowly, but real healing is taking place. I refuse to date for now, as I need to get my shit together first. And that could be awhile. It's okay. When I am ready, I will be able to offer strength, honesty, intimacy, and the "real" me. Its not fair to go out into dating mode still healing, and perpetrate that on any woman. It would be a disaster of a high magnitude. I need to be square with the "house" first. On the other hand, it sounds like my BPD ex is continuing, true to form, down the same, but much more reckless path of self-destruction. I don't gloat over her dilemma, I empathize with her condition. But from a safe distance (which is amazingly only two blocks). But I can say since she was arrested, I only saw her once, in the store nearby, and because of the no contact order that was imposed on her, I went about my business. I paid no attention to her. Oddly, I felt at peace. Sure I still have bad dreams every now and then and panic at times for no apparent reason, but the peace is starting to fill in the gaps, slowly but surely. The journey of recovery has been challenging but immensely rewarding. If anyone out there can relate to anything I am saying, you know what I mean. To give completely of yourself for over a year and to find you have little left of who you were, it takes a lot of courage and stamina to get back to you. But it can be done. Get meds from your doc if you need them, seek counseling or pray if that is your way. Always practice no-contact, court imposed or not. I can't speak to bpd ex-wives where children are involved, other than to immerse yourself into children's hearts and spend quality real time with them. Not staged, where it all perfect, let them see you, as you are, vulnerable yet loving. They need that from you, especially if she is the custodial parent. Anyway, it sounds like my ex might not be able to enter back into society anytime soon, and that mandatory hospitalization or incarceration are in her future. I was so hopeful that the probation was an opportunity for her. So sad, but she has left such a path of destruction in her wake, with so many broken people, marriages, and children, including her own, she isn't ready to take on the responsibility of entering back into society. It's for the best right now. Go to Amazon and get the book "No More Mr. Nice Guy". It's a real eye opener and shows that guess what, we guys contributed to the wackiness with our ex-bpd's, so we can't blame just them. In our strive to make everything right and good, and to be "perfect", we have probably deceived ourselves and our ex-BPD's along the way. They often say they don't trust us after the honeymoon phase is over. Their hyper-instincts are right about that one, however nasty they are about it. Read the book. It will help you to get back to you and attract more "normal" women into your lives. Like Scotty said on the new "Star Trek" movie (in the middle of uncomfortable moment), "I like this ship, it's exciting!" This is our adventure and dammit, it IS exciting. God bless my ex and all of you out there.


Please tell me your story and how it relates to Borderline Personality Disorder. I appreciate any and all comments that you leave on this blog, and as long as they do not contain inappropriate language or are not on-topic, will publish them. Please note that I cannot respond to blogs as this is an anonymous blog. However, I will publish all appropropriate comments.