Recovery Takes Time for the BPD-Non

It has been nearly 15 months since my girlfriend with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and I broke up. It has been over a year since we have communicated directly. It has been six months since her last attempted hoover.

I still think of her everyday, if only for a brief moment. Still, she manages to come to mind. There is usually no more pain associated with thinking about her… usually. Sometimes, I am caught off-guard by the intensity with which a past memory of her can hit me even a year on with no contact. It’s amazing to me.

I was only with my bpd ex girlfriend for one year. The post-breakup pain, confusion, and depression was unlike anything I had ever experienced prior. I had a previous romantic relationship that lasted 15-years that fell apart and the heartbreak was not near what I endured after the BPD ex and I broke up. Why is that?

My ex girlfriend, for a time, saw me as her savior, her perfect savior. Being somewhat codependent at the time, I played that role very well. I was proud to be her savior. I wanted to take her away from all the pain she felt. I wanted to show her that I could give her everything willingly. My love for her was that strong. I could take her away from it all…

While playing the role of knight-in-shining-armor, I saw my ex girlfriend as my princess. She was an empty vessel that I filled with every romantic hope and dream I had ever had. I molded her into the perfect woman and placed her high upon a golden pedestal. Her radiant light (that I ignited) out-shined every one of the many red flags I should have heeded.

I was high as a kite on endorphins and delusional love. This relationship changed me on a base, chemical-level. Even the boring daily-life routine was now bearable for me. Whenever I was feeling sad, lonely, or upset, I indulged in thoughts and fantasy-land thinking about my girlfriend. In retrospect, my behavior and thinking at the time was very much like a that of an addict’s. I was, in fact, very much addicted to her, and what happens when you take away an addicts drug of choice?

There is no methadone clinic to ween ourselves off of our addiction to our Borderline disordered ex. The withdrawal is hell. You no longer have a supply when the BPD person leaves or you are forced to leave them. You have come from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, sometimes in a very short period of time.

After the breakup, I found myself in mental, emotional, and physical shock. The only word I can think of to describe how I felt – shattered. I was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was depressed. I could not sleep. If I did sleep, I suffered through terrible, vivid nightmares and would wake up in the morning sweat-soaked. My whole brain-chemistry was out-of-whack. This was unlike any other breakup I had ever endured.

When these breakups occur, only tiny, jagged, shards of us remain scattered on the floor. We lose ourselves in these relationships. When they fail, we are no longer the whole person we once thought we were. Our dreams, our core-beliefs that make us who we are – the ideas we have held onto so dearly, were wrong. We are left questioning everything, especially ourselves. Who are we if everything we thought was wrong?

The good news is that the pieces that once made us whole are still there. The tough thing to face is the fact that it is a long road to put those tiny shards back together again, but you will.

Comments 11

  • how did she take the brake up in intrest was she ok about it BPD brake ups never go that well either side dosnt matter witch side you are on im glad you are picking your self up after it well done good on you

  • I just broke up with my BP after 8 years, 6.5 of which were absolute heaven. I still want him back even though being with him almost killed me this past January. A very serious suicide attempt landed him in a coma for a week. Just this past year, he has been hospitalized 15 times in three different states; self mutilated 3 times, attempted suicide 4 times and left me 5 times. I couldn’t have been more dedicated to the relationship. I was always there and I was certain he would do what it took to get better. But, when I almost died when he was in ICU I knew I could no longer do it. I’m 44 years old and I have a lot of life ahead of me that I would like to enjoy. Unfortunately, this breakup has stolen all my joy and I have no interest in life right now. Like everyone else, even though I told him he had to leave I still secretly want to hear from him. Even though when he does call my hands shake and I don’t have the strength to answer his call. What a mess I have allowed myself to get into.

    • Hi Randy,

      I am so sorry for what you’ve been through… I know this is not going to come as much of a comfort for you, but you are doing the right thing by getting away from him. You’ve done all you can do, yet it will never be enough in his eyes no matter how much you do. You will never change him or lead him to peace, no matter how much love you give.

      You need to focus on loving yourself now – something you probably haven’t been doing for a long time – so busy with trying to make him happy. Make yourself happy and whole again. You will turn a corner in your recovery as soon as you start to focus on yourself. Allow yourself to feel the pain of your loss, but do not dwell on it. Take the time to mourn the relationship’s end, but learn to embrace the unknown future ahead of you. You are clearly a caring and kind person – you need that for yourself now.

      Really look at yourself and try to understand why you stayed with someone who put you through such turmoil. We all need to do this to better understand ourselves and improve our future relationships. I am curious, and if you are willing to share, what was happening 6.5 years into the relationship that may have triggered him so? Was there an event or a major change in his life that you can point to that started his downward spiral? Was that first 6.5 years really heavenly or was he mirroring you the entire time? Try to evaluate these things in a manner that is as detached, objective, and honest as you can. You will grow from this process…

      Finally, you will move beyond all this, but it will take time. Be patient – very patient with yourself. Recovery is a long process that will sneak up on you. It is not a linear process so don’t be discouraged when you have set-backs. Seek and maintain a support network. There are others like you who have gone through this hell and come out stronger, happier, and more fulfilled – I fully trust that you will do the same.

      • I think that this is the most important line
        “It is not a linear process so don’t be discouraged when you have set-backs. “

  • PS- I know allllllllllllllllll about those night sweats…

  • I am just now seeing that for the last 2 years. And 2 major break ups I dated and was seeing a female that has this BD. That I thought she was the one but I hate to admit it but our relationship was only in my head. I am normal so confident and out going man enjoy life but all this has changed…More times than I care to admit I said it was over just to open the door or ring the door bell myself.. I have lost myself and many freinds and time on the job thinking about how I CAN CHANGE things… ..

    I need some help for some one who walk in my shoes…



  • A year ago I got through a much shorter relationship with a BPD spouse (about year and a half). Started fast and brilliant (knight in shining armor projection mixed with codependent habits of my own), ended slow (with angry episodes from him, doubts and confusions of my own about the relationship, some cheating, etc). Didn’t see the pattern until the final breakup. There were times I thought it was over, and there were times I tried to get out, but got convinced somehow to stay.

    The only thing that seems to differ greatly between my breakup and the more serious (several year) breakups is that I almost instantly felt like I’d taken a huge breath of fresh air and dropped a 100 pound backpack. I felt liberated and empowered, instead of feeling desolate. There was a short period of crying and emptiness, but I vigorously worked on my mental state, using all the “techniques” listed a few paragraphs down.

    It was like trying to escape the atmosphere and not quite making it a few times, and then finally launching my probe into outer space to see the world so much more clearly from above.

    I learned a lot about life, and relationships, what I want out of love, and what I can’t tolerate. This whole experience only made me stronger, and even as I was starting to doubt, trying to work on it, I held on for a while knowing that if it failed I could only get stronger from the experience. I realize this isn’t the kind of relationship to base all relationships on, but I now have the tools to recognize and avoid some kinds of unhealthy relationships/behaviours in the future, and I can hone those tools by reminding myself of this experience and learning from others’ experiences.

    I think the months I spent knowing I should leave prepared me for the day I finally left so that it didn’t hurt as much as it left me feeling relieved and unburdened.

    How I got over it:
    -No contact
    -Remembering why I left
    -Processing the whole experience directly, fearlessly, charging right into your thoughts, uncomfortable as they may be, and rigorously organizing them, reasoning, understanding what happened.
    -Knowing the future is a beautiful, unpredictable beast, with lots of opportunities that have been opened up since leaving
    -Knowing there are healthier relationships out there to learn from and observe
    -Knowing that there are potential partners out there who won’t put me through that kind of mess again and will treat me really well.
    -Talking with friends about everything that happened. What do you know, this support group you lost touch with can be really helpful…

    I almost forgot that one… FRIENDS. Maybe the most important part of the process of letting go is discussing the reasons and the relationship with your friends so together you can reason out why you’re gone, why you don’t need to feel bad about it. And so you can reconnect with people who’ve been pushed out by a controlling lover, to refill the void he or she leaves behind with emotional support from people who care about you.

    I hope that helps someone who went through the same thing.

    Every now and then I’m hit with a memory I haven’t looked at since before breaking up, and it gives me a little roller-coaster rush, and I breathe in deep, breathe out, and go on with my daily life with forgotten vigor and optimism. Stronger and wiser than before. 🙂

  • I read your article with great interest and total empathy. How are you these days? Are you still actively on this website?

    It is very hard to get over a BPD ex and it is exactly how you describe it. It has been over eighteen months since mine left
    me and took my son away from his Dad. She used the legal system to do this and started a smear campaign against me to her family and friends who of course jumped to her defence. I loved her so much and treated her really well but she got more and more nasty towards me. She always made hugh issues out of my frustration at her issues, quite the turn around. Eventually I started to believe her. Typical gaslighting.

    Hopefully one day she will get some help and understand that we had an adult relationship and that she is responsible for her own choices and chose well. The problem was, I could not relate to her being so emotionally dysregulated all the time, so she may on some level have known that she was no good for me.

  • Thanks for sharing this everyone. I broke up with a woman who suffered from BDP two months ago. I didn’t even know these disorders existed, I just thought she was moody at that time of the month. When we started arguing about the same things, one event in particular, I knew something was seriously going on. I reviewed the web and discovered BPD and the other personality disorders. Astonished, I read and saw that other people went through a mirror of what I went through: no boundaries; hurtful, snide comments that demeaned me and my goals; random fights at any times, especially when we went away for a weekend; her being ‘friends’ with other guys; splitting (probably the most painful times of my life), to name a few…

    Just writing this makes me feel better. The last months of our relationship were nothing short of hell, at least as much as I can imagine it. I have never hung up on anyone in my life, but the last ‘conversation’ we had (really her calling me every name in the book, and telling me that she didn’t want to listen to me, after she had a guy ‘friend’ over her place until 10:30 PM) just pushed me over the edge. I pressed end on my phone and didn’t look back. I hired a woman who specializes in getting over these relationships and spent a good deal of money and time recovering. I don’t even want to calculate the amount of time, energy and life on which I missed out in the last year.

    After the breakup, I spoke to many people I know who have went through divorces. We got into the conversation about what happened in their relationships. I am not kidding, all of them described very similar situations I have had with my ex and several of them said their exes had BPD! I am talking about 7 specific people. It proved to me that if you stay in a relationship with a person with BDP, the only outcome is divorce (or the looney bin)!

    I am grateful for all of you sharing and from what I have read, these people cannot be in relationships, it is impossible. The actual diagnosis is on the same axis as mental retardation, meaning it cannot be reversed. When I start missing my ex, I try to think about how I was really dating a person who was a six year old emotionally. Then, when you think of their ‘rages’ you see them as tantrums. I know, at least logically, that I made the right decision walking away, but it is still very hard as the ‘good times’ of the relationship were SO good.

    Please know that you are not the only ones going through this. A great book I just read that helped a lot is by Gordon Livingston, “How to Love”. It gave me great insight on what red flags to look for when dating and the characteristics that will lead to a fulfilling relationship. Also, ‘Boomerang Love’ by Lynn Melville is excellent as well.

    Good luck getting over your situations. I really believe that God has a plan and that we go through our personal challenges/stepping stones for a reason. I hope to fully recover from this and be a more aware and stronger person for it. Thanks for listening.

  • The breakup with my BPD-ex (a very good friend, or so I thought), after one-year was so much more devastating than divorcing my ex-husband after a 23-year marriage – and HE was a full-blown narcissist! Sadly, they had more traits in common than I had initially realized because my ex-husband was controlling, very abrasive, nor tried to hide that side of himself. My ex-BF was very covert, used his abusive childhood to gain my sympathy. We started out slowly, and he had always been so emotionally supportive, but once the mask slipped, he discarded me without warning…by far the worst thing I’ve had to overcome. How sad that there’s such little hope – (okay, NO hope) – for these damaged, underdeveloped and pathological individuals…

  • Hello Everyone.
    It has been a few months since I broke it off NC with my BPD ex who I lived with for nearly a year. She sent me a few texts, letters, presents (which I returned with a small note saying she was wasting her time). Most of the time I crack on with life but obviously I get the odd fleeting thoughts of her. I met her nearly a year before we started dating. I helped her with a bag of shopping about 3/4 of a year before we started going out (biggest mistake of my life). A 23 year old man about to go into royal marines basic training ”saving” the blonde damsel in distress when really I should have been saving myself, how ironic. Unfortunately these types of people chew you up and spit you back out (probably not intentionally but that’s what they do) which is why I’m grateful I grabbed that last vestige of control and dumped her before she did me, retains a bit of pride although the aftermath/ pain is exactly the same. For a while I thought the main concern was her alcohol abuse and did multiple things to try to help her, buying her a new high end printer/scanner for her photography, an evening photography course as that was apparently a passion of hers, along with countless other things which got me into debt (mainly essentials as all her money went on impulse buys on the internet and anywhere else) but looking at these BPD stories I can confirm that many of them sound like a replay of my relationship with this 34 now 35 year old woman who I lived with (she looked mid to late 20’s somehow). She repaid me with lies and pain and a nice little overdose on her meds which landed her in hospital the first time I spent the night away from the flat because I said I wasn’t prepared to let her drinking and lies go unpunished. She isolated me in very subtle ways from family and friends, basically my whole life became about her and worrying what she’d do next, whether she was overdosing, dead, with some other bloke, and all the other pathetic situations she could have got herself into. To all my fellow war wounded individuals who have had the misfortune of dealing with a BPD ex I know how you feel. It’s torture for a while but it does get better. The amazing s*x was a tool they used to meet their own ends. The really really great times you spent with them were an illusion, just because they were having a good day it seemed like heaven in contrast to a mental hell. And most BPD’s are very impulsive, if they can’t control their impulses around substances or money matters who’s to say they weren’t cheating on you physically with someone else? Think about it. You’ve all done the right thing in being apart from them as it never gets better and they are always the ones who pull the strings, the master manipulators, leave them to it and be grateful it’s not you anymore. Focus on yourselves guys. I’m now in the process of joining the army and looking forward to pastures new as well as getting the distraction I need. I’d rather have bullets flying over my head than be slowly destroyed as the puppet in someone else’s game.

    Stay Strong

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