Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Does She (or He) Really Have BPD?

I hear this question from quite a few people on a pretty regular basis. I even went through the same thing with my ex BPD girlfriend as you can read in the post Is She Really Borderline? Those of us that are in the relationship with the borderline feel such a strong urge to prove that the other is borderline for so many reasons.

Why Do We Need To Prove That They Have BPD

When a relationship goes wrong, especially when personality disorders are involved, we want to find a reason why. We want to blame the other person for the problems because we are trying to do the right things. We are working so hard to make the world right and things right, and it just isn't working with this person.

If you're with someone who has a personality disorder, you know what I mean. You keep trying to live your life by doing the right thing, and the person explodes on you when you least expect it, when things are good. Maybe they're suffering from the Vengeance Switch as you try to enjoy life to the fullest.

We know something's wrong, and we know that we're not doing it.

The problem with being in a relationship with someone who is borderline is that you can't ever have a fully healthy relationship without that person getting help -- years of help. You live life like the move Groundhog Day, always waking up and starting from ground zero, never getting to the next level because your BPD partner knocks the relationship back down because of their lack of trust, or their lack of respect.

When we try to bring these issues to the borderline, their fear of abandonment, self loathing and other defense mechanisms kick in. They're real good at this, and this is when you get the, "it's not me, it's you," response. The borderline will usually launch a full assault to prove that you, in fact, have the issues or problems.

BPD Gaslighting: The Worst For The Non

The worst thing that happens is when the BPD changes the course of events in their minds. It's a terrible event, because how do you argue the facts with someone? It becomes a "he said-she said" argument which is frustrating.

The biggest problem is that if the BPD was dissociating (which most of them do quite regularly), it's not that they are lying, they have actually change history in their mind! So they now believe the change of history that occurred in their mind. How do you argue this?

Over the long term, this makes the non feel like they are losing their minds -- one of the most frustrating things.

When I was with the BPD, she told me that I was dissociating when the roles were, in fact, reversed. She believed this so much that she went to counselors and told me this -- I went through special EMDR therapy to try to recall memories and everything. Because I thought that maybe the BPD saw things that I didn't. She did see things that I didn't because she made them up in her head.

Whew. What a nightmare. If you're dealing with this kind of difficulty, I'm sorry. All of this -- someone telling you that you have the problems and you are to blame and you need the counseling and you came from a troubled childhood makes you feel the need to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they have BPD.

As a non, we have to explain the world. We have to explain why things are the way they are. Most things in the world can be explained.

Many parts of the Borderline's world cannot be explained.

I Guess It Doesn't Matter Anyway

Here's what the kicker is about this whole thing -- it doesn't matter if the person you were with (or are with) has BPD or not. You were/are in a dysfunctional relationship, a bad relationship, a relationship that just wasn't normal, plain and simple.

It doesn't matter who did what or who has BPD; it's irrelevant. The relationship did not work, was not working, and was not going to work. It was going to continue being dysfunctional because those with BPD cannot have healthy relationships without intense counseling for years, medication and structure that most cannot provide.

So, does he or she really have BPD? It doesn't matter.


  1. This post is most timely - I have just had a prime first hand experience of gaslighting.

    After a fine day out, where we talked of many loving things, including having children, she changed. I became first just her friend again, then she told me outright (again) that she had never talked about loving me at all and walked right away from me in a club. I waited a few minutes before leaving but she must have talked to the doorstaff because I was asked to wait a little longer outside before I left. I complied.

    Whilst waiting, I got talking to another woman and shortly after that, another member of staff approached me and told me she was in another part of the club, waiting for me. So I went through, we talked again and went to dance. Soon she was all over me, in my arms and back to loving me. For a while anyway. On the walk home, she changed (split/dissociated?) again and she went back to describing a totally alien version of our relationship for the last few months. Then when we got to her flat, she was fine initially, if distant but shortly after, she was accusing me of stressing her by constantly forcing my feelings on to her, arguing and how much I seemed to like keeping her in a disorganised/chaotic home and emotional life.

    This culminated her asking me to leave, and whilst I got my stuff together she called the police, who arrived quickly and were waiting when I left the building. They were fair and quite OK/respectful about it, once they determined there was no violence, coercion or abuse involved. One of them quickly asked me outright if she had a "mental health issue." - I replied that I had my concerns but was unable to say for certain. So after a short chat, they took me home and asked I wait at least till the next day before attempting to contact her again.

    I was no more than five minutes into bed when her first text arrived. Accusing me of having the problem, totally contradicting/negating and changing everything that has gone between us in the last few months. I replied to simply say that the police asked me to wait and that I would not discuss things till we were both fully sober and rested.

    Two more goading texts followed.

    I will soon be walking back to her's to collect my car so I have no idea what awaits.

  2. I just found your blog today. I just finally ended a relationship with a BPD partner this past week. I have been in a lot of pain. It was something i have never had to deal with before. She turned into a completely different person than the one i met and fell in love with.

    I am also a fan of the grateful dead so i can relate to this post.


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