Borderline Relationships Leave Us Emotionally Empty

Since learning about Borderline Personality Disorder, I’ve read and heard the term “emotional vampires” often.  This is a very good description of the BPD.  My ex drew every last drop of emotional blood I had left in me.  It is as if my emotive capacity has been compressed, and the peaks and valleys of my highest-highs and lowest-lows have  been clipped and little else but a ho-hum feeling remains.

This feeling has dissipated as I have healed and time has passed, but oddly, at the moment I write these words, that old feeling has bubbled up to the surface.  I can’t fully explain what it feels like, but I will do my best to find the words.  Since my ex-BPD girlfriend made her less-than-graceful exit from my life, a feeling has remained ever-present. It’s a feeling I can’t quite put my finger on.

It’s not depression.  It’s not even sadness – certainly not anger…  I have the conscious ability to identify all of those emotions clearly; those are all conscious emotions.  What I am again feeling, is so near consciousness, so close to identifiable, yet entirely evasive.

It is a feeling much like ennui.  If you are not familiar with that word, I will give you the definition…  Ennui is a word of French origin that describes a “listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest or boredom.”  It’s kind of like that.  It is not a strong feeling; it is a subtle, nagging feeling that lurks, ever-present somewhere just below the surface of the conscious mind.

Perhaps what I am feeling is the void space that remains where love, hope, and elation were once housed.  Perhaps what I am feeling is not a feeling at all, but merely the lack of feeling, a sort of emotional antimatter.

Maybe there hasn’t been enough time or distance from the relationship.  Maybe those emotions have been forever stolen from me, and I will remain emotionally impotent, incapable of love, trust, or hope.  Maybe it’s just physiological post-addiction symptoms.  After all, I was clearly addicted to my ex-girlfriend and the emotional rush she provided.

I have lost so much because of this relationship.  It is beyond me how I could have given so much of myself to someone, who in return, left me with little more than questions, wavering faith, and hopeless emptiness.  The burden is mine though; she may have led me to this filthy well, but it is I who continues to drink from it.

Comments 28

  • hi freetobe,
    your article resonated with me. I broke up 4 weeks ago with a womana I’m almost certain is b.p.d.
    Only 2 days ago I was writing in my diary searching for words for the same feeling you’ve described above.

    I found it comforting and disturbing both that experiences with these kind of people can have common symptoms and effects on the people who around them.


    • Know more about the facts, know more truth… Against all of the Chinese youth: today you choose silence… Tomorrow, others will be you to silence… You fight with power, one day you will die in power under!

  • This post a bit more abstract than others, but I will try my best to relate. As a result of this “emotional vampirism,” I have become unmotivated. My personality has suffered, as I have become bland and uninteresting. I am not enthused to meet new people or do otherwise fun things with my close friends. I find things less entertaining, and my mother notices my change in demeanor. I have become a sadder person, less excited about life. And I am having second thoughts about pursuing any future relationships. This was the worst about 2 months after the relationship had ended. I am proud to say that things have since gotten better and easier.

  • Once again i freakily relate to the post. To say its an emptiness doesnt do it justice. How do they all do it to us? Did her actions and words line up? My exes didnt so i think i allowed fantasy to take over and believe her words instead of her actions. When you wrote about her “less-than-graceful exit”, would you mind elaborating? for the emptiness i decided to go to Alocohoolics Anonymous for a past issue I had and found that trusting in my Higher Power helped.

  • Phil – I’m glad you got the help you were looking for…

    My ex had already been setting up my replacement in the weeks leading up to the breakup. The thing is, we had just started to get really close, building what I thought was an intimate connection…

    I found out about the other guy and was left in utter disbelief and shock. When I confronted her about it, she denied it all. I knew better at this point and left… not because I wanted to, but I knew that I had to.

    See, that recent intimate connection we were building was real… So real in fact, that it triggered her fear of abandonment; I got too close to her and it made her run. There is no way you can leave a Borderline when they have already left you…

  • Reading above comments have made me cry.It is all so sad and true to my experience with my ex girlfriend who i am positive must be BPD.

    Free to be,your comments about getting so close she pushed you away are very sad because that is what was happeneing to me throughout the relationship.In the end,we split up due to a combination of her abandonment fears,pathological jealousy and insecurity,none of which had any foundation,i loved her with all my heart and would never have left or cheated on her.Its 6 months for me now and i am still struggling like this.I din,t know whether it is comforting or not to know other people are in the same boat as me.

  • Hey Rob,
    I feel for you. Im in the exact same boat that you are in. I think that we all are. I hope that you find someone healthier! You deserve it!!

  • I just re-read this post and it sits heavy with me. As you are trying to explain the feelings that you have I tried doing the same and the best I could do was agree with your explanation. Its a feeling I cant explain. And as you wrote, there is a fear of being emotionally impotent forever. I pray that it isnt the case but fear that it is.

    I have tried moving on. Last night I was on a second date with someone. She had told me that she was in therapy and then asked if I was and asked why. I told her it was over a relationship. Later in the night she said to me that I seem burned out from dating. And asked me about it. She sensed that the ex did a number on me. She asked if we were in contact. She asked if I had fears. I was open about everything but got all emotional. She was picking on a wound that I knew hadnt healed yet but was hoping could heal over time. And I realized that I am not close to being healed. I am at a loss and dont know what to do. I fear that I cant love again except the ex. But I fear even more that if i ever got back together with the ex it would be the worst thing for me. I want to talk more but dont know what to say. it really is emotionally draining. she left me emotionally empty.

  • Hi Adam et al, it’s so moving to read the experiences of falling for a borderline waife. My experience fits everyone’s but to me, and I’m sure you all agree, our terrible pain seems unique. It is time for us all to grasp the nettle and begin to realise that while she was dysfunctional through neglect and abuse, so are we. Our childhoods and relationship with our parents or carers left us wounded. What she does is to stir up that psychological sediment that had settled so long ago. I find going back into town so painful these days since it’s where we used to meet. But my pain is an echo of the times I was left in a big store when I was around 3-4 years old. So my colleagues consider getting therapy to explore your childhoods and relationships with your folks/carers. I am struggling to face my own dysfunctional childhood and it is helping. Yes, she was an emotional vampire but what was it in me that tripped her detection system? My dysfunctionality-needy, people pleaser, always there to help…………etc

  • My ex had a profile on…”Looking for good guys”. Looking back I wonder if she’s anywhere near real or in reality. It seemed wonderful at the time but now it’s more like a nightmare…just wondering if it really happened.

    • FMA – It’s funny that you bring up… Mine was on dating sites within a day or two of our breakup. About 6 months post-breakup I thought I was ready (yeah right) to start dating again. I setup a profile on Match and about a week later, she was one of matches the site made. That set me back some at the time, but now it just makes me laugh.

  • I am also starting to wonder if I am ever going to be able to love a normal decent woamn again. My ex has managed to screw me up so badly.
    I just can’t seem to let her go and I don’t think I will ever be able to let her go 100%. I always want “one last hit” I can not believe it how she has taken control of my life.

    • I’m really sorry to hear that Andrew. I feel the same way sometimes. How long has it been since you broke up? Are you completely No Contact? It should get better over time, but you need to look at yourself and what drew you to her. if you work on yourself it might help realize how bad she was for you. Its a long hard process but worth it. Mine cheated on me and I still want her back. Did yours cheat(btw, i only found out later)?

  • you have finally given me the answer for the feeling i have been having

    lately i couldnt describe it in words

    now i understand it yes ennui its a horrible feeling

    but now i can describe the way i am feeling to people

    and understand myself the emptyness only us survivors of these relationships

    can understand

  • Ennui, funny I speak fluent french and explained that words so well, I am also back from the land of OZ, few months now, after almost 9 years. Before I go on I need to say that it will get better and I mean better not just normal. She still crosses my mind, after all she moved in with the next guy (was lined up before the r/s ended, in fact he was the reason I finally said I had enough of your disrespect and ended it).
    How did I do it? Well I was lucky (smart…define how ever you like), I never married her, and never had kids with her, 02 things each one of them would have made my life a living hell by now had they been true.
    So after it ended I went through tough time few months and then I woke up one day ( as the author of this blog said my mind just decided the data does not make sense and decided it is time to stop processing, great analogy btw), instead of focusing on the bad of the r/s and how it ended I started to focus on the Good, I had a great job that I love doing, I had a great daughter that needs me and loves me to death, I had a good life comfortable life and i was already back on the dating scene and think don’t look too bad. think positive you will get positive feelings (clincher but it works). I started living for me and my kid, and truly doing what I always wanted to do, exercise, travel, go to strip clubs with the guys from work when I can (yes I am a guy and I did and will do that), and the best part of it all I don’t have to answer to her or anybody besides me (how is that a bad thing!!!). since she does not live far from and literally dating some guy from high school both on their second Divorce,I can help but know about her situation, and here it is: Age 43, all kids left some grown up other with their dads, she is living at her moms, sleeping on the same bed where she slept as a kid, begging the new guy to let her sleep over so that she gets away from her mom that she hates (truly hate…RED FLAG), Broke, debt to the eye bowls…sickly (another BPD Red Flag, so sick she can’t do any activity)….and the list goes on and on…I guess she rubbed some BPD on me as well, because I really have no sympathy for her or what so ever (0 hostpital visit, 0 happy birthda….and tried her hoovering)..

    here are my reminders as it was well put on this site:

    1- I want better than this
    2- I deserve better than this
    3- I am better than this



  • My experience was with a man. I am woman who dated a man that suffered from bpd. Of course, he was unaware of his disorder. The mood swings, the intentional fights, I felt guilty every time I thought of not meeting his needs. The verbal abuse got replaced with long periods of him not contacting me. In the end, I feel happy mixed with saddens and a how could he be so hearless to the woman who loved him so much.

  • I just wanted to say that the dispair we all feel is eerily similar to one another. I am realizing for the first time that I think I am a “victim.” I feel damaged and broken by being blindsided and discarded like rubbish. It is as if she never remembered our love and the unique and intimate times we shared. I thought those were irreplaceable. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and think, “what happened to mmy wife and where is she?!” I have seen her once in 4 monhs after filing for divorce in July. How can a human being be so callous and insensitive? How could she walk out like this after all the amazing times we I shared? I feel duped and totally betrayed. I feel for everyone on this board but also am relived as it validates my feelings and suspicions of her BPD waif qualities that I have suspected for a long time. Moving on is easier said than done. It will be hard for me to trust and love again. I want to, but this emotional treason, if oyu will, has me second guessing people. Afterall, my wife was supposed to be my dedicated alli.

  • hey guys, im a borderline personality female. Everything your exes did to you, I do to my boyfriend/ex im not sure what we are right now because I went crazy again. I need help, can one of you help me please? I know i hurt him, I emotionally abuse him and he is really trying, or was at least. He is getting tired, and he was so patient with me before…I dont want to hurt him anymore, It makes me hate myself and it makes me angry at myself and him. I cant stop. I just cant. I try and try and I cant control it…Im impulsive. Weve been together for 3 years on and off..and its horrible i cant take it anymore its gotten really really bad this past last year. Someone please help me.

    • Best thing I think you can do for him if you care that mutch is give him proper closure and get help for yourself

    • As I look wearily, disdainfully at the person in front of me, I notice the similarities between my feelings and the look on their face. Aside from the slight expression of hate, anger, and disgust in their returning gaze I notice the subtle differences. As I look closer at their expression, I think to myself how much more tired, more defeated they look than I expected. This is the moment I begin to talk, at first I look down, building up momentum as I prepared to unload my emotional arsenal, hoping to feel the heavy weight of my emotions drain away like weights lifted off my shoulders.
      The panic in my chest squeezes until I think my heart might explode; my first words come out and sound sharper than I anticipated. “You ruined my life”! I begin; I feel the building force rising within me. “I am so sick and tired of dealing with you, the constant issues, the never ending problems”. Then I feel the heat building around my eyes, thin streams of hot tears begin to trail down my face. “I hate you, I think everyone does”! “I would do anything to be rid of you once and for all”! “There are times you remind me of my mother, destructive, selfish, and never wanted to see that in you”. “All you do in my life is cause problems, hurt the people I love, destroy all the things I try to create”. My chest begins to heave; the thin ribbons of tears become a hot torrent of anguish, rushing rivers of anger, sadness, and pain escaping my soul. The feeling feels similar to ringing out a wet dishrag only coming from within me, full of emotional outrage.

      The sounds of the blood rushing to my head like a distant drum beat. “There are times I don’t even recognize you, times I want to rid you from my life, remove you from those I love and protect them from your constant dysfunction”. From deep within the final pieces of emotional waste spews out of the deep pit I feel inside of me. Almost as is a storm was beginning to pass and tiny trickles of light begin to appear, I could feel an end to this emotional exorcism. The salty taste of tears cascade along my lips, the flavor far more familiar that I would like to admit; “I hate you so much, you hear me, I hate you and I wish I could just rip you out of my life, out of existence”. The words come out as shouts, piercing through the otherwise silent room. The end of each word a sharp pitch like little shards of glass piercing out into this image before me.
      The tears flowing freely, a sobbing out poor of every pain within me, and I look up. Across from me the tired, pain streaked, face in front of me looks so small, so broken, so lost I feel the seeds of compassion deep within me, held back by the anger, the pain, the sorrow inside. Slowly I can feel the anger passing, inside I soften slightly, I try to regain my composure and I look directly into the image across from me. “You do deserve so much more, are capable of so much more, why do we constantly find ourselves here”? “Why can’t you just get better, why do you have to act like such a freak and drive everyone we love away”? I slide to the floor exhausted; every part of me feeling hollow drained, and tired.
      Once again it’s only me, me and the mirror in an otherwise empty room. Mentally I embrace myself and apologize for being so cruel, reminding myself that this moment, these feelings, these problems will pass. Softly, steadily I let out a whisper; “I do deserve to be happy, to feel loved and I do love you”. “I know I can do this, I just can’t give up, I can’t stop working toward that person I know I am”! I can feel the new set of emotions creeping in, I stand up and smirk at my reflection feeling a new wave of energy, new hope inside. I again confronted my dark places, the demons inside, and I am still here able to smile and persevere another day

  • Train yourself to turn your bad thoughts to love and everytime an outburst or abusive episode seems iminent, let a light bulb go on in your head that says “no.” Even better, tell him, what you want to say and speak it, but don’t really “say it.” Does that make sense? “boyfriend, right now feel like I want to say….blah..” but I know that isn’t right. ” I think help will start with recognizing the problem, as you have done so bravely, and having the self awareness to arrest the impulsivity and verbal abuse just before it starts to flow. After a while you might find that you have helped yourself and trained your mind to react differently to various stimuli that used to upset you. good luck!

  • Dear All

    Have just found this page after hitting what i think has to be my final rock bottom and think it has made things in a way a little easier. I spent 18 months with a man who i believe has BPD and what a time it was. Before i met him i considered myself to be an outgoing vibrant guy, i now feel emotionally empty and broken. i seem to be living on slow motion and life around me seems to have had all the joy and colour zapped out of it. We have been broken up or 4 months but he asked to see me last week. I was all over the place just from receiving a text not knowing weather i should meet up or not weather i should open old wounds etc. but i agreed and we met for coffee. Part of me must still have been hoping that he had seen the light and the error of his ways and at last would recognise just how much i had put into the relationship. How wrong was i he just wanted to let me know he was seeing someone else. All over again it was as if my world had fallen apart. Not only had all hope now gone but the feelings i had of worthlessness where magnified 10 fold. I am again left with so many unanswered questions as after he dumped me back in july then agreed to meet up just as i was moving on with my life and telling me he was not looking for another relationship he needed to get his head straight first and it could be years before he was ready but wanted to carry on seeing how things could go with us. He is now the one that has moved on and i assume subjecting someone else to the emotional rollorcoster and yo-yoing of feelings that he subjected me too. My world has again fallen apart and am just left where as he just seems completely oblivious and still blames everything on me. I still go over and over things trying to understand HOW IT COULD ALL BE MY FAULT” I don’t think i will ever feel “NORMAL AGAIN”
    Is there light at the end of the Tunnel?

  • man, I’m so glad I found this website – I was dating this BPD girl for 2 1/2 years – she started out with the suicide threats, cutting, and complete emptiness that I couldnt seem to fill – the s*x wasn’t good and she took no interest in any of my needs – I would start to pull away as my physche was under attck and she would often throw the masturbation is sinful accusations at me and of course make me feel pretty shameful. It is amazing how towards the end of the relationship I was emotionally drained – she would often use that as a way to say how much I didnt love her – but deep down I did. She would crack into my e-mails, phone records as once before we had taken a break I had used the internet to try and meet someone else. Of course she used this against me as someone who can’t be trusted and I felt so bad about it. Eventually she cracked into my phone and found a text to a girl who she didnt know and that was that(it was completely innocent) – the next two days she went off with another another guy as she told me she had found a new opportunity to be happy and I was dumped because I couldnt be trusted. Boy these women are toxic – I have never felt so traumatized in my life – I couldnt sleep or eat for a week. 2 months later I am still waking up every 2-3 hours and feel completely out of it during the day. I am going to a mental health specialist in january – all my life I have been this upbeat guy, of course I have my insecurities, but this has thrown me for a loop. I too want to feel normal again – but boy right now I am just devestated beyond beleif. part of me is finding old feelings that I had before the relationship and I know I am on the road to recovery – but the only way I can describe it, it is like being with a dementor from the harry potter movies – they suck everything out of you when they leave and seem to have no sense of closure, remorse or contact. they take you to hell and it seems like a long journey to heaven again.

  • @ Will..

    Ya, its a matter of time. You will be ok. But, remember that all bad feeling you got right now is directly proportional to hanging out with a dysfunctional person. Best of luck..

  • It is comforting to know others have gone through this and survived. It has been five months since my borderline girl kicked me out of her house screaming obscenities holding a loaded revolver. The insane part is that if she agreed to therapy I would go back to her. The feelings must be the most powerful drug in the world. I would probably die of a stress related disease if I was with her, but feel like I want to die without her. Sleeping is my favorite activity now. I’m an attractive, successful middle age man that ballroom dances in south Florida. There are available women everywhere. So far all I can think about is my BPD and the women sense I am damaged. I am! She took me to heaven and sent me to hell and dumped me over trumped up charges invented in her sick mind. Guess I am just lucky I didn’t marry her and stay longer than two years. It may have ended me. It may have anyway. Good luck to everyone and I feel your pain.

  • Jake how are you doing now? I am six months removed qfter a sudden breakup with the woman who promised me the world built my hopes then destroyed me. Feel like i am on the edge of a complete breakdown. I am moving to the other side of the world to get away from it all but it has hit me very hard. I am an utterly broken man.

  • What was my lowest point, there was been so many, and using the word “point” signifies finite time frame which being integrated with pain is a process. Days/months meandering picking up the debris after the BPD hurricane; selecting “the” “point” of enough is enough, “the” I can’t take it anymore.
    One evening four or five months trying to buck up, trying to gladiator my feelings I hit the wall. I just wanted to feel human, to feel wanted, wanted to be touched, but all who I talked to couldn’t understand the level of pain, and I didn’t want to show family or others that normally I would confide in. Anyway I have one male friend that gets it, that I think he had a relationship with a BPD or a conglomerate of bad relationships. I walked over to his house, sat down on his couch not saying a word, and asked him to sit down next to me. Not saying a word he did as I asked, then I asked him to place his hand on my back, weeping more than crying he rub my shoulders said with empathy “I know its been hard on you”. Ten minutes later I asked if he was switching “teams” on me, we laugh together and talked about going sailing on Lake Erie next year.

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