Feeling Better or Feeling Familiar

I miss the comfort in being sad. – Kurt Cobain, Nirvana

The lyric quoted above is from the Nirvana song, “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle” from their In Utero album.  I happened to hear the song on the radio today (I’ve heard it many times before) and the lyric struck me like lightning.

Is it possible that familiarity is more of a motivator for us than feeling better?  Could it be that the grief and heartache our bpd-feelingsbreakups have caused us has stirred up feelings in us that resonate far more than the unfamiliar peace and calm?  Are we more comfortable feeling the grief because it is already familiar to us?  It may seem odd, even a bit masochistic, but do we find pain to be pleasurable on some level?

I truly believe that normal-minded human beings seek out pleasure and avoid pain, but what happens when the boundaries of those two emotions becomes blurred, or smeared together?   I believe that this concept is a nearly dead-on explanation for why we are so mixed up after a relationship with a Borderline disordered individual.

The dynamics of a relationship with a Borderline are defined by blurred and distorted boundaries, emotions, and expectations.  Our Borderline partner’s behavior trains us, overtime, to be hypersensitive to their emotional state.  In time, our emotional state becomes completely dependent upon theirs.

When they feel bad, we feel bad.  When they feel joy, we feel joy.  The constant bombardment of these two contrary emotions leaves us shell-shocked.   This never-ending flux between joy and pain begins to soften the boundaries of these usually sharply-defined emotional states.  The cycle continues ad nauseam, until even when in pain, we are anticipating the onset of pleasure.  We know the pleasure will come again as the Borderline pulls us back in.  We will feel the rush and excitement of being wholeheartedly loved and adored by the one whom we have placed in such high regard.

Is this the reason we are left in tatters when the cycle finally ends?  Is our pain something so familiar to us that we have difficulty letting it go to embrace the yet unknown peace in life?

I believe the pain we felt was there throughout the vast majority of our relationships with our Borderline disordered partners.  It was always there, just below the conscience surface of the joy we were feeling, waiting to rear its ugly head.

Comments 29

  • There’s a story in the Buddhist tradition, I think, about a guy who is hit by an arrow. He wants to know who fired the arrow, who made it, where was it made…….etc. Of course the real problem was to treat the arrow wound. In my case I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about my borderline ex, who she’s with now, how is she, is she thinking about me……etc. Whatever these women stir up in us, old abandonment wounds, family history or whatever, they change our cognitive approach to the guy hit by the arrow. Since our relationship was littered with pain and disappointment and that she dumped me what in heaven’s name am I trying to gain by my yearnings and longing? It sure ‘aint happiness! Mike

  • “The dynamics of a relationship with a Borderline are defined by blurred and distorted boundaries, emotions, and expectations. Our Borderline partner’s behavior trains us, overtime, to be hypersensitive to their emotional state. In time, our emotional state becomes completely dependent upon theirs.”

    Very true. But I must also add that you seem to be unaware or, at least not mentioning, the role of conscious manipulation on the BPD patient’s part. See, when things started out you weren’t walking on egg shells, it happened to you over time; after we became invested in the relationship and wanted it to work out.

    You must recognize that the hypersensitive counter-strategy on our part is intended to prevent emotional escalation on her part. The BPD will know, despite their condition, what you’re trying to accomplish by being the walk-over. It will make them lose all respect for you as a man and manipulate you to do whatever they feel entitled to.

    • Hi and thank you Maciano, because of my people pleasing personality I did try and be the ‘nice guy’; from what you write I understand that my agenda, about love and friendship clearly differed from hers!Looking into those cold blue eyes used to worry me at times but I believed this was all about love. In your reply you seem to be saying she had an entirely different agenda. Her personality then was/is equipped to detect, entrap and subsequently humiliate her victim….have I understood correctly? Two messages come across to me, 1. she may not really like men and 2. ‘Nice guy’s finish last(Shari Schreiber).

      • Mike,

        Non-BPD women also tend to lose attraction in a man when he’s constantly permitting to be a walk-over. You and I may feel we’re actually strong for not allowing escalation or enforcing de-escalation of fights, but it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes you must forcefully show mental strength and self-respect.

        The BPD case is different because such a person has a clear mental disorder. Your nice-guy act — which is often just a civilized, conscientious, well-educated and well-raised man — is, at first, a perfect fit for someone who’s perpetually troubled. BPDs have an terrible angst of you leaving them, which makes them panic and rage; as freetobe argued, it makes them act in ways that seem like push/pull-tactics. I don’t think BPDs act consciously that way in some morbid quest to ruin men, but the function of their chaotic actions (and us swallowing it) is a toxic cocktail that can bring you down.

        Also, Simon Baron-Cohen just wrote a book called ‘zero degrees of empathy’ in which he described narcissists, borderliners and psychopaths on the one hand as zero-negatives and autists and Asperger’s Syndrome sufferers as zero-positives. Zero-negative because these people are a bad influence on themselves and everyone around, they can’t be helped much either; they’re cursed with their condition. (Zero-positives can, however, learn empathy through sheer logical deduction and even blend into society like everyone else without too much trouble.) He never said (nor do I) that these three personality disorders are in the same league, BPDs are, of course, not psychopaths! They all have, regrettably, very little or no empathy underlying their problems. What else could one say about a person threatening suicide or raging at their kids “I HATE YOU!!” and then just come back a few hours later acting like nothing happened. You don’t say these things if you’re a highly empathic person, because they hurt. Considering that BPDs are not evil people, just troubled, there must be a reason for such tactlessness, I believe SBC’s right: little to no empathy for those they rage against (or anyone else for that matter).

        • Thank you Maciano for your response which does confirm a lurking thought and worry that I am a people pleaser. My nice guy approach needs to change and change drastically.I am a great diet for a personality that loves to manipulate for what ever gain.I suppose a BPD female can see me from a distance and the potential to manipulate practically glows in the dark. Your response has given me a sense that I can get through this, I will give the book a read as well, thanks, Mike

        • Hi Maciano, thank you for the info on Simon Baron-Cohen’s book about empathy. Reading his 6 empathy categories number 3 was so accurate in describling my BPD ex. He describes an individual who cannot cope with work challenges and has to wear a mask to survive. On coming home this person is wasted since the energy used to be a false self is considerable. The times I received desparate calls when she couldn’t cope and the ideation she suffered at work and at home were too many to mention. But the most important point is her lack of empathy and while she sits at number 3 in some parts she had other aspects that were nearer number 2! It’s as if there were a number of disorders all folded into her personality structure.Your comments and the book information plus other reading along with Shari Schrieber have genuinely helped start to seriously get over my pain, so thank you, Mike

  • Greetings to you all and thank you for sharing your heartaches (& breaks) with me.
    I was married for 27 years to a great woman and several years following her death I began internet dating.
    I met – 2 bpd’s in a row!
    Of course I didn’t have a clue at the time.
    The 1st woman, who was 20 years younger than me, and I had a whirlwind romance and she suggested marriage within 2 months – I was completely unprepared for this. We had intense marathon phonecalls every night until I suggested we not rush into marriage – and then she became unavailable.
    Not meaning to be graphic here, simply demonstrating what an intoxicant a bpd can be – the 1st time we had s*x she told me to do everything I ever wanted to do to a woman – and I did. I hadn’t had any s*x in 3 years.
    I was so hooked.
    The relationship shifted from red-hot to ice cold in 2 days and she never contacted me again. I was bewildered and hurt and blamed myself – perhaps, I thought, I should have considered the marriage proposal? All in all it was not a heart-wrenching end, I believe I was still in a state of numb grief.

    Move ahead a year. I go back online and instantly click with… a woman 25 years my junior.
    We slept together on the first date and she wanted to move herself and her children into my house.
    She is/was one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life.
    My 2 boys disliked her from the get-go – which saved me from a very rash decision.
    Consider this: she took off all her clothes in a men’s room in a major department store and dragged me in to have s*x with her in a cubicle. We might have been arrested!
    Any rational person would have fled, I didn’t.
    Many other outrageous situations occured – and, as embarrassed as I was, I went back for more.
    (In retrospect, of course) She displayed every single classic symptom or sign of bpd.
    I was ultimately saved by my decision to re-gain complete sobriety – I was a heavy drinker since my wife died. Suddenly I could clearly remember the childish circular arguments, the never-ending lies, and the sexual obsession – and I realized that she was having affairs at every opportunity.
    When I confronted her she looked me dead in the eye and swore she wasn’t.
    In the rarest of intrusions into another’s privacy I checked her handbag and found condoms – I had a vasectomy 10 years ago – and 2 texts on her phone which revealed she was working as a prostitute with another girl in a casino.
    If you knew me – a somewhat respectable middle-class bloke – you’d laugh, I was in so deep.
    I actually began to believe that I was going mad, particularly after several years of heavy drinking then suddenly stopping. But it was my intuition which stopped me and allowed me a moment to see things as they were.
    Searching on the internet for information on difficult and deceitful relationships I happened on a site by Shari Schreiber, which I cannot recommend highly enough – and now this site – thank you.
    Despite the pain of enduring endless lies and deceit I still miss her – and that’s the craziness of bpd.

    I am not entering into any other relationship until I have divined what it was in me which attracted them to me. And I am practicing meditation and discovering things about myself I never imagined.
    I wish I had the energy tonight to type more but I don’t.
    I would simply like to thank all of you for your posts & to say that my prayers are with us all.

  • Hi Anthony, wow you’ve been through the borderline mill and you deserve to meet someone who measures up to your courage and strength after your experiences. My sole experience was, like yours, with a woman much younger than I am and, yes, she was beautiful also.My yearnings and longings are still present some 9 months after she dropped me headfirst into despair. I have been having therapy with Shari since her site is really helpful and I would recommend Shari as a healing therapist. Gradually, my pain is lessening but like you I still miss my borderline waif. So, I wish you well and hope that you find a divining mechanism that works! Good luck, Mike

  • After a long, long stretch of no contact – I woke this morning to a series of texts. They were confused, dis-connected and if they had arrived at night I would have supposed she was completely intoxicated.
    I ignored them.
    Then the phone-calls started – I ignored them also – then voice mails.
    The ‘little girl’ seductive voice was employed in the voice mails.
    None of it made any sense.
    It seemed as though she was unaware of the previous months and the lack of contact and was taking things as if we were back together.
    I picked up the phone…..
    Broke my solid no contact rule and spoke to her.
    When I explained why I wanted no more contact – the ‘little girl’ voice vanished instantly and I had the harridan to deal with.
    She called me a POS and a loser and not a real man.
    (tongue in cheek) I asked her why she was wasting her time with all of the above.
    She DENIED calling me them – one single minute previously!!!
    She said ‘you’re having delusions.’
    I said ‘I must be if I think I can have a sane conversation with a mentally ill woman.’
    I hung up – end of contact today, but I’m expecting a repeat attempt tonight.
    I can not express how exhausted I was following the entire debacle.
    I felt as though I had been shoveling snow for a week, and had to go back to bed and slept for hours.
    I will NEVER break the no contact rule again, I swear.
    One interesting thing – never for a single moment did I feel the old urge to make it up and try again – must be truly recovering (I think).
    Best of luck to you also Mike – and all the other posters.

  • Hi Anthony, she’s some piece of work and I’m sorry you have been through a re-visitation!What’s really encouraging is that you’ve lost the drive to keep in touch. I have recently read a couple of books along with my work with Shari Schrieber. Harriet B Braiker wrote two books that I believe will help all of us guy’s in ‘the loop.’ Who’s Pulling Your Strings is, for me, a revelation since my obsession blinded the manipulation that was happening. Her other useful work is The Disease to Please. The ‘Who’s Pulling……. is well worth a read Anthony and I wish you well from a guy in Leeds England,

  • Hi Mike (Live from Leeds – no less – lol)!
    I return to Shari Schrieber’s site frequently to reinforce myself. For awhile I thought she was a bit over the top – I don’t think so anymore – she says it how it is.
    I will look up the books you mention.

    Interesting thought in my head this morning as I awoke: I’m a fragile jigsaw puzzle which can only be kept intact by no contact – lift it up for even a second and it collapses into pieces.
    I am still berating myself for the contact yesterday, but I’ll get over it.

    I am, in fact, getting over everything.
    Awhile ago I could torture myself with the thoughts of who she was with now – presently I could care less (in fact I pity him, whoever he/they are).
    In the strangest way I have begun to pray nightly. Strange because I haven’t thought of prayer in 40 years.
    And I believe someone (should that read Someone?) is listening to me at times. It makes me feel a bit better.
    I am sincere in my prayers for her recovery and that failing a complete recovery she will at least find peace and happiness somehow – just not with me.

    Having discovered that I am a ‘people pleaser’ (I was in the entertainment business for years – and could never say ‘no’ to anyone on any account) – and having destroyed every aspect of my life with 2 bpd’s in a row – I am off the market dating-wise. And won’t be back until I have fixed myself.
    If it takes the remainder of my days to ‘fix’ myself – then so-be-it, but I am a danger to myself in my present state.
    Would I recognize another bpd if I met one – I’m not sure actually – so I won’t take the chance.

    I wish you great health, Mike – enjoy the British heatwave – and continued success in your therapy. In the U.S. a millionaire can barely afford therapy – and I haven’t the price of a pack of fags – lol. I have to diy.

    • Hi guys,
      I havent posted here in a while. Anthony, just know that you arent alone. So many others have gone through what you went through. I recently had a confusing re-engagement with my ex. I still don’t know what she wanted. I dont think she does. I think that we spark something in them that draws them to us and then they just as quickly get freaked out and run away.

      I personally believe that there is a God in heaven and have found prayer helpful(when I have the strength to pray). I am glad that it helped you. I am also glad that you want to heal yourself before dating again. Better not to bring that baggage into a new relationship.

      Be prepared for future re-engagements. Even if you are painted the blackest of black it can still come at any time. You have to prepare yourself for it so that it doesnt suck you back in(unless thats what you want).

      Best wishes,

    • Take good care of your self Anthony and I wish you well. Please have a read of ‘Whose pulling your strings’ and also ‘In Sheep’s Clothing’ by George Simon. These two works may provide you with warning signs the next time that romance comes your way, which I sincerely hope it does, good luck, Mike

      • Thank you for your good wishes Mike.
        I broke the rules – again – last night.
        She called at a late hour and I answered – calmly.
        In her harridan voice she accused me of all the indiscretions she has been guilty of. It was so preposterous (and the sane part of her mind knows this) that I can’t imagine what she hoped to achieve – contact?
        I just remained very calm throughout. And I think that unnerved her somewhat.

        I concluded the exchange by saying – ‘call me anytime you need to vent, just don’t expect to see me again, is that clear?’
        She then screamed into the phone – ‘I am hanging UP on YOU!!!’ And she did.

        I think I have surpassed the point of feeling clawed or tempted back in as I was several times in the past. I slept well and awoke with a clear mind.

        Somehow – and I suspect it was due to my calmness – she has lost her hold over me. I pray that I can maintain this calm.

        I envy you a therapist to talk to though, writing here is my therapy I think. Getting it off my chest.
        Cheers to you, Mike, and all the rest of the excellent people on here.

  • According to Shari Schreiber: “Addiction is the core of every person’s attraction to a personality disordered individual.”

    Is there a connection between my quitting a long-term alcohol habit just a month prior to leaving the ex?
    And now finding meditation – which is also addictive, but the hangover is more meaningful – lol?
    And also indulging – nightly now – in prayer?
    It’s all about filling a void in me isn’t it?
    But I think I’m filling it with positive things rather than alcohol (abuse I mean- if you can handle a few beers, good for you – in my case it was a lot) – and a troubling relationship.
    Sometimes we don’t see the nose on our face do we?
    Sometimes it’s perfectly obvious – other times we’re muddling through all sorts of detritus searching for a particle of meaning and getting more and more confused.

    • Even if we were taught as a boy to be brave and not to cry Anthony these troubled women release a silo of tears and unhappiness in us. Your strategy to use prayer and meditation sound settling and restful. You are right that we cannot see ourselves, ‘the eye cannot see itself’ is a true proverb. The meaning is about discovering who you really are. Most of us wake up in mid life, just like Dante, to find ourselves in a dark place. Your journey out of those awful, cruel and unempathic relationships will provide thos particles of meaning. My very best wishes, Mike

  • Hi Guys,

    Shari Schreiber is right on the money. She is very direct but her history is another reason for this. She is cautious not to suffer fools and can sometimes be taken out of context.

    I did several sessions with her and found them to be invaluable.

    I was with a BPD on and off for three years. We were friends for the first year or just over and then became involved. I really liked her and I still do except for her dark side which totally destroyed us and the plans we made.

    She always bagged her ex to me right through the time we were involved and it was kinda low and demeaning to herself especially since if she did that behind his back, she is certainly doing the same to me now. It is really immature and nobody worth any self esteem would tolerate it. She always went on about tone of voice and respect, but considering she is a high conflict personality who expects to break up and plays guys, gets pregnant to multiple partners, has children to two so far, sponges of the government, takes out questionable restraining orders, spend years bitching to family and her “rescuer” friends about how bad her partners are, sabotages relationships, breaks up for no real emotional reason, re-seduces if she thinks you may be moving on, changes her mind about s*x constantly sometimes during the act, melts down and overdoses, tries to commit suicide, admits herself to a mental hospital, decides to study or apply for a job that is unrealistic, wants to have a pet put down because she thinks it’s mentally ill, takes a pet in when she’s already too busy with kids and a small house, alienates a defenceless little boy from his Father and entertains/flirts/ with other men while in a relationship.

    I’m over her nonsense and have moved on with my life.

  • Hi everybody. It’s my first time writing. I’m finding it fascinating to read the male perspective of this disorder. I believe that my ex is a BPD — not diagnosed professionally. He also developed an alcohol abuse problem which was unknown to me. As I’ve read various information sites I did agree that in the future I will be choosing who is right for me rather than to have the man choose me. I usually seem to attract narcissistic men. I’m a nurse so you know I love caretaking all these social rejects. I dated my ex for 2 years. He had many annoying behaviors that always had me wondering if I wanted to continue bothering with him. He had been a widower of all of 4 mos. when he latched onto me. His clinginess was suffocating. I just thought he was stuck in the codependency/caretaking role after having nursed a wife dying of cancer. I can admit that I tolerated his annoying behaviors because I felt guilty for being hard on him. Now I see that he manipulates others with his pathetic, widower, melancholy. So after 2 years of dealing with his depressions and moods, I confronted him this past August to go see a doc about his depression, health complaints, weight issues, and what I thought was probably Diabetes. He had a complete meltdown. I didn’t realize he was a BPD at the time. I became the villian because I said I could no longer continue a relationship with him unless he was put on anti-depressants adn went to a counselor. Then mid-Sept he admitted to having been hiding an alcohol problem. I never knew. He was at my house most evenings for dinner, then would leave to go home. I had no idea he was swinging by a local bar on the way home. What I thought were Diabetic symptoms were hangovers, feeling crappy, and weight gain due to alcohol.

    What bothers me most now is that since I’ve realized all that’s going on with him, I’ve switched into the caretaker mode. He no longer will interact with me. Which we all know is best. But that hasn’t stopped me from checking on him, contacting friends to check on him, getting him to a doc, blah blah blah. I can’t stand that I maintained boundaries when we dated over his engulfing behaviors, but now that I view him as mentally ill, I became “the nurse”. I’ve been working on no contact for the past 3 weeks. I’ve been pretty good and every week gets better. And I started seeing a counselor I like to change my behaviors.

    He’s not worth my pain. And any interaction I’ve had in the past 5 months has left me feeling pathetic and rejected. Intellectually I know he’s not good enough for me, but emotionally I’m right there with the rest of you.

  • I know this question might seem to go against everything this website stands for, but I have to ask and I must say I would really appreciate an answer. If you were in such a relationship with a BPD woman, she left you and your are willing t take the chance of being with her again, what would you have to do or how should you act, in order to get her back? And I don’t mean “convince her to come back”, I mean indirectly make her come back to you.

    • Hi Daniel,
      I truly don’t know the answer to this question… There was a time that I too wished I knew the answer. I didn’t care if she was good or bad for me anymore; I wanted her back to take away the pain of her being gone. If this is how you feel, you have to take a deeper look at your feelings – what you want is reactive… She’s a drug that you want to take away the intense pain of withdrawl.

      Again, I know how you feel; it’s not easy. Take the time and energy you have and turn it inward… Focus on what is missing in yourself that makes you think you need her so… I found many things in myself that needed time, care, and fixing. Change your focus my friend – stop looking to her as your source of peace and happiness. IT TAKES A LOT OF TIME! Keep fighting…

      • First of all, thank you for your support and good thoughts. I’ll try and fight it, especially this weekend, when my birthday is coming up and it will be very hard not to want her beside me.

        I still think it would be good to know the answer to this question. And someone must know it. I just do not know where to look.

        • Daniel,

          If your ex is BPD, then there is nothing on your end that you can do to make a relationship with her work, or to bring her back. BPD is one of the hardest mental disorders to treat. It takes extended therapy and the BPD has to be motivated to change. I’ve talked to a lot of counselors and therapists in the aftermath of my relationship failure and they all say that borderlines are the hardest to treat, because they are comfortable with the way that things are and don’t like to be challenged, even if they’re not necessarily happy. Getting them to see a counselor is just the first step in a LONG journey.

          I’ve been where you are and I know exactly what you are feeling and thinking. A trauma bond is created when they abruptly abandon the relationship, or force you to end things. Your thinking is distorted, and the only thing that matters is getting them back to take away this awful pain. In some ways you get over a breakup with a BPD ex the same way you would with somebody that is not disordered. It’s just that there are extra dimensions with a BPD that make closure and peace of mind very, very hard to attain. When my ex-ex and I broke up, it was sad, and it definitely was not fun to go through. But the experience wasn’t damaging.

          A failed relationship with a BPD is extremely damaging and traumatic. Your focus is not on getting them back, but putting yourself back together after what you’ve been through. That painful yearning and pining for a BPD is something I understand. But your closure comes from knowing that there was no other way this relationship was going to end. They wrote the ending the moment they laid eyes on you for the first time. Your closure is knowing that there was nothing you could have done differently to get a different result.

          I’m 19 months out. Honestly, at this point what I miss more now is being in a relationship with somebody I care about and cares about me in return, not specifically her. I no longer look to her to fill some of those needs and desires. What hurts more now is the patience needed in waiting for the next special person to enter my life. I’ve done a lot of casual dating in the 19 months since my ex abruptly abandoned the relationship, but I have yet to enter into anything serious or committed.

        • Danniel WHAT I DO TO GET HER BACK?

          Been where you are at…. I have thought it out myself and here what I have come up with.

          If she is evolved with someone she doesn’t not want you back in her life; while involved with someone she doesn’t think about you. She has painted you “black” and blames the entire negative in her head you were the cause of it.

          If she is not in a relationship there is a very good chance she will try to Hoover you back into the hellish life you had with her. Been there to, waiting, learn more about BPD! DO NOT RESPOND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          If you approach her in anyway you will loose much of the strength you are slowly regaining and how would you feel if she shoots you down. “Back to square one”, which more and likely she will.

          If you did get her back, have you researched how much professional help you both will need to go through for a very long time? And if you did the stakes are way too high for a happy out come. I am telling very high odds and if you think you feel like s__t now – try to imagine how decimated you feel in the future!!!

          Buddy I know it’s hard, we all know it’s hard, be strong, it will get better, come to this site and talk to us my friend and above all –No contact with her-

          • It’s been 3 months and it’s still hard. And I am still not able to cut off contact with her. 🙁

            How lame am I?

          • Oh…and more importantly…I still want her back, damn it!

          • Daniel I urge you to seek counseling if you can, no one can understand you except us here and a qualified professional in this “field”. I was lucky to have a friend who almost “got it”. What really helped me are research and the no contact rule. That being said “we” will always be here for you: if you go back for second bite of the apple don’t beat yourself up for I have ate the whole pie myself before I asked the Man up stairs to help. It’s been eighteen months for me and I still have withdrawn symptoms. Daniel if you wish to talk let me know and we will figure something out….. Michigan……….

          • Unfortunately, I don’t have enough money to go to counseling. And yeah, I get it, my friends get it…it’s just that…well it’s complicated and it’s about my whole life, not just about her.
            Thank you for your support, David!

  • Danniel,, I joined al-anon, just “said” my BPD girlfriend of six years was an alcoholic. I know it was the untruth, but I needed help!!!!! it did a lot of good for me going to the meetings.!!!!!!!

  • First I’d like to introduce myself. I am Michael, a 42 year old male in Los Angeles. Ten days ago, (Sept. 15), I ended an almost 2 year relationship with an undiagnosed BPD waif. In the course of that time, we had broken up 3 times (my doing), been to two different therapists, 20-25 counseling sessions and towards the end, I relapsed on alcohol after 5 and a half years sober. Upon me pointing out this miserable pattern to her and asking her thoughts, she simply said, “Well that’s just because you don’t trust me. If you would just trust me, we’d be fine.” Wow.
    I’ve been reading through these posts, (among the hundreds of others online), and it really helps me to know that there others that have faced the same flavors of crazy. In particular, Anthony, your story has some really startling similarities. (By the way I am back in sobriety after a short treatment. And my final breakup with her came just after I completed treatment). For example, although I could never prove it, I became convinced of the possibilty that she was prostituting. And she is an attorney by day, so it really wouldn’t be about the money as much as the risky, random s*x.
    In any case, the crazy-making, signal-scrambling way of life has always been so hard to explain to my friends and family. They would always just say, “Leave her.” But we all know that is a lot harder said than done. But through forums such as these, I have a community of like-minded, healing-oriented people. And I thank you for that.

    In closing, I wanted to offer some response to Anthony when you asked about what it is that attracted you to her. At the risk of saying what you may already know, have you looked into “intermittent reward systems”? While all non’s have this in their dysfunctional dance with BPD’s, we alcoholics and addicts have it in spades (gambling, anyone?) when it comes to these relationships. In short, we (people like you and I, Anthony) are hard-wired to not only want to be Supermen to these damsels in distress, we are also very self destructive when their confusing yo-yo string gets wrapped around our heart.

    I look forward to learning more from all of you, and posting the occasional nugget along the way.

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