Why Was I With a Borderline Disordered Person?

Why did you get involved with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder? Why did you try so hard to have a relationship with someone disordered? If we really want to make any progress in our healing, we must ask ourselves this question. We will never get the answers we seek from our Borderline ex’s; we can only seek these answers from within ourselves.

In hindsight, we knew there were red flags. Why did we make the choice to overlook them? Why did we, normally clear-minded individuals, stay with these people so long? Why did we try to love someone who isn’t capable of loving us in return?

You can choose to deny it, but we played a big part in the messy relationship we had with our Borderline disordered ex’s. They did not force us to stay by their side. We made a choice to remain in bad relationships. Why? Did we think we could fix them? Did we feel that we could show them that not everyone was like their allegedly evil ex partners? Did we stay because we loved them?

Guess what, we never loved them. How could we have? Clearly we thought we did, but we couldn’t possibly have loved someone who treated us so poorly. What were we really in love with? Is it possible that we projected all of our hopes, dreams, and fantasies on to our ex’s? Is it possible that our idea of love was (or still is) a bit too idealistic and fairytale-like?

We weren’t without fault in this. No completely healthy person would have put up or endured what we received, not for long anyway. Is it possible that there was a selfish underside to this? Did we also use our Borderline ex’s as they used us? I think it’s very probable that we did.

Whether you dealt with a Borderline siren, waif, hermit, witch, or whatever, they filled some particular psychological void or character gap for us. Perhaps their dramatics, ailments, depression, or flights-of-fancy was just what we needed to overlook our own problems. Perhaps by objectifying them, we could shift the focus from what was lacking in our own lives to them, allowing us to forget ourselves.

It worked, didn’t it? When things finally did fall apart, did you not feel like you had completely forgotten yourself? Unfortunately, at that point we wished they exact opposite on much more conscious level. We wish we could remember who we were before our relationship with our BPD ex. We wish we could forget everything about our Borderline ex. Somewhere in that crazed relationship, the crazy-good s*x, and the drama, we managed to completely lose our identity. We lost ourselves.

Start asking yourself these questions: Why or how could I have let myself fall for a disordered person who wasn’t capable of loving me? What was missing in me at that time? What was I feeling? What was it about how this person made me feel that kept me going back for more? What was going on in my life that made me vulnerable to this?

These questions will lead you to the answers you need. They will lead you to the answer to the biggest question many of us have after a relationship with a Borderline Personality Disordered (BPD) person:

How can I make sure I never make this mistake again?

Comments 9

  • Great post. And, yes, I also lost myself. Eight months into my relationship with a suspected BPD woman my mother died unexpectedly. I was grief-stricken and my then GF filled that void and I came even more under her power. I overlooked the periods of distancing, verbal berating, and disrespect because I didn’t want to lose her as well. Now, two weeks after I lost her, I truly am trying to find myself again and it is a very, very difficult process. And, she discarded me like a used piece of trash with an abrupt end to our communication. I will never, ever beg and plead for a woman to communicate or come back to me, nor will I take the blame for everything regardless of fault (just to smooth things over). Someone else can deal with her cold shoulder techniques, call avoidance, flirting, and generally bad behavior. I am free, and it is a relief, even though I hurt ilke hell.

  • Two things I think it’s important to remember in any relationship. Normal, healthy people are not trained to detect lies, manipulations, etc… in a relationship or at anytime! This does not make you “co-dependant”. It makes you a healthy person. I believe there is a healthy compromise in relationships. It’s detecting the non-healthy compromises that are the problem.

    Two… You do not have to have low self esteem to become involved in this. If I were to have met my BPD off the street it would not have gone the same for me. Red flags EVERYWHERE!

    You know, my situation had nothing to do with a “self-esteem” issue; unless someone can show me otherwise. I ran into an old “childhood” flame 20 years after the fact. I didn’t even “meet up” with him for a month. All communication was via social networking and telephone. I think this created that “in”, that doorway that normally takes time to open with getting to know a new person. In other words, I already had in my mind a person I once knew, his family etc.. We were like family back then. My memories were flooded and as we talked, it seemed under normal circumstances things would not go so “fast”, but we already had a solid established “connection”. I mean his mother and father treated me as if I were family (in fact, one of the problems was that his “mommy” continually hinted at marriage right away! I could write more about that, but that would certainly rabbit trail!)

    Emotionally I was already “there” though. We were wonderful friends and had incredible memories together… so the “learning about each other” stage was accelerated, yet skipped. I didn’t realize it until my emotions were entirely too deep. I already had a “basis” for who he was established. Everything seemed on the level.

    The first few signs of trouble appeared to me as if he had not gotten over a 13 year very dysfunctional dynamic in his marriage. Fighting with the ex about the visitation etc.. Learning to be a good “single” dad, rather than a “circus” Dad, which are typical for most grieving stages of ending a marriage? I did feel that may have started the relationship with me too soon. I tried to cool things off, he protested. I remained committed to the relationship based on his “admission” that this may cause him to be a bit avoidant, and sometimes cause triggers. This can happen to anyone. He wanted to work that out. Our history kept me there.

    I truly thought I could work through some of these issues with him on the basis of his honesty. HA! Honesty is key! Actually, in hindsight he was playing the fear of abandonment… manipulation, etc.. He promised to go to counseling, which he did.

    Eventually, within 5 months later, 15 months into the relationship with drama and the cycle of abuse coming every three months, all holidays were horrible, his mother was a narcissist, Dad was an abuser, ex was neurotic, daughter was markedly depressed, sister a drunk –realizing his life was a mess… constant drama, and I could not help him. The people that surrounded him was dysfunctional, he would continue to go back to them. I realized I did not want to sign up for this trip. I tried to end it. He physically abused me then threatened suicide brandishing a weapon, he held me hostage taking all forms of communication from me for hours. I was in shock. Here was this man I didn’t even know. I never thought I would ever experience this with him. Everyone was shocked.

    He was very convincing that his problems were based on a dysfunctional family life; that I was his only friend, and had been his only friend in his life. I agreed to stay because I loved him, but only with counseling. His counselor agreed I most likely was. I was the only “healthy” person in is life. It was only at that time that it was revealed that he in fact had been diagnosed and supposed to be on medications for BPD. Looking back, shock kept me from thinking clearly; like a parent loves a child who is a drug addict. It was then that I realized something was wrong with having that feeling of caretaker/psychologist rather than lover/friend. I felt bad to abandon him. Once I worked though those feelings I started to distance myself… which caused triggers for him.. Back and forth breakups since last August, 9 months now, this ended (for him – on HIS terms) last week. [He did try to make a hover the next morning] It’s been months of making myself dis-interesting. At the same time, still trying to merge the two people; the little caring, fun-loving, optimistic boy whose parents abused him, but it never showed then. My perfect playmate – and the 41 year old who never grew up, and became a man. He was damaged. He didn’t want to make things better for himself. I see the causes, in fact he does too – he will acknowledge this on some days when he’s not in a guilt complex by one of his family members. Sometimes this means, simply not convenient for him. It’s a lifelong dynamic he will never let go of because it’s the only thing that’s been static. No matter the dysfunction. To leave these relationships would mean he would be alone. This obviously will never happen. It has been THE hardest thing I have ever had to go through. Reading the stories here I feel so for everyone.

    They keep you waiting for the “pay-off”.
    So I guess my barrage is more so to say, yes, co-dependant issues should be taken seriously; however, you don’t have to be co-dependent to truly love someone the right way. It’s not your fault that people slowly expose who they are to you. Sometimes we can get tripped up. You make choices on the basis of the information you have at the time.

  • Dear Heartless, you certainly put it all down on paper for the world to see.
    Thank you for your openness and honesty.

    Here’s my reasons for starting a relationship with a bpd.

    1) I was flattered by the initial – electric – response I got from a much younger, extremely beautiful woman. (which makes me shallow and immature)

    2) When she revealed (piecemeal) her appalling childhood experiences and difficult relationships since then, I – literally – felt as though I was galloping to the rescue on my white steed. She actually told me that’s how she thought of me… in the beginning.

    3) I was drinking quite a bit and when you’re in that state you’re far less likely to put 2 and 2 together. She knew this and never criticized my drinking.

    4) When it became apparent that my 2 sons couldn’t stand the sight of her, I sided with her. (we have since repaired that damage)

    5) When I met her creepy friends I never questioned her choices – I questioned my evaluation of them.

    6) Her wild, freaky sexual side was explained away – by me – as wonderful, youthful exuberance. On several occasions we could have been arrested. Very dangerous s*x indeed.

    7) Multiple make-ups followed multiple break-ups and I always felt the ‘push-pull’ and always gave in – because making up was magical.

    8) As I mentioned somewhere else on this site – I sincerely believe there’s a meta-physical underlying cause for the attraction (on both sides). Some brave soul should explore this, I think. Because – I am pretty certain she has had scores of one-nighters – why does a particular combination of individuals become a relationship rather than another one-nighter?
    Not sure if that’s very clear…?

    So there are some of my reasons why I got myself into whatever it was I got into.
    Male vanity plays a huge role in it all, doesn’t it?

    Incidentally, I have always been a people-pleaser and I know no other role in life. I hear I’m supposed to practice saying no. Really don’t know where to start with that.

    Regards to all.

  • I can’t say I wasn’t damaged goods before I met her. A disturbed childhood and difficult adulthood to date, but they were similarities that brought us together. Six months before she persuaded me we should move in together, another couple before marriage (arranged by her within three weeks). Only she was present at the marriage in a sense, the photos show me pale and ill looking, as she shone, oblivious. Already the flags were there, already I was pulled along by the ebb and flow. Inter-mixed with weekly rages that grew in their intensity and viciousness. Three months after marriage I ended it, she self-harmed and overdosed. Six months I ended it, she moved out. Another year and a half of constant abuse which I cannot talk about. Be warned. Get out of it. I went crazy. I had the breakdown, I was taken to the psychiatric hospital. A month later she hoovered me back up again. Spat me out a month later, I relapsed. She came to hoover me again and I slapped her, damaged her property. Arrested and charged. Took a car and crashed it into a wall, she had done it, destroyed me emotionally to the point of suicide. Back into hospital for six weeks. Out I come to court hearings, five months and still going on. Ex turns up to give intimidating and vindictive looks, gloats from the gallery. Then, two weeks ago, the letter, trying to hoover once more – i am her soulmate once more, her one true love. Counselling, medication, criminal record, no business (no car). But…… through adversity comes strength. I struggle with it all, as said previously, it is not a linear path to wellness, wholeness. But, the path is there, and I believe it is a path to greater strength and self. Good luck to you all, if we chose this path then we are the brave!

    • Len,
      I cried reading that. I met a BPD in July.I treated him like a King. In 3 months he had me on an emotional rollercoaster. I lost track of who I was. I was constantly crying. He manipulated me. I am a great catch. I had just broken up w/ my X boyfriend of 9 yrs. 2 wks before meeting him. The chemistry was strong (I was vulnerable). He made sure I had 100% no contact w/ my X.Every little simple thing, he turned into a huge ordeal, blaming me 100%. Rages, Breakups, Tantrums, No Intimacy. You name it. Emotional nightmare from A-Z.THEN- The joke was on me. I turned black to him. One day out of blue, after telling me he loved me “everyday for 2 months” he acted like I DID NOT exist.Broke up w/ me. Has not contacted me. I am so emotionally and mentally f-ed up over this my heads spinning. Thank God its only been 3 months. I am floored at the toll its taken on me. These BPD people are Professionals at what they do !

  • I am trying really hard to understand what it is inside me that becomes obsessed (yes, obsessed, not “in love”—I realize this now) with women like this. One problem as I explore my inner-most feelings, is that my sadness increases somewhat when I make a breakthrough that shatters what I always believed about my own life.

    I always felt I was lucky. I grew up in a very “normal” home and lifestyle…typical “Beaver Cleaver” type stuff…middle-class working dad, homemaker mom and two sons. There was no big drama in my childhood, no screaming, no hatred, no fear of parental divorce etc.

    My parents were never discouraging—never said things to me to make me feel worthless. But now, as I look back, they were never really ever very encouraging either.

    They never seemed very interested in whether I succeeded in the things I tried or not. They never encouraged me to join sports, get involved in activities, or anything. They never seemed too concerned as I went from a very bright student in grade school to a mediocre one in junior high, to a poor student in high school.

    I missed countless days in high school because I was “sick—usually with a sore throat” and needed to stay home. My parents let me stay home and they went to work. Miraculously, I was never sick on a Saturday or Sunday.

    These were the times I was trying to learn how to go from being a child to being an adult. I was always unsure what would really please or displease my parents. I actually think they kind of sense this now, as when I visit them and we talk, my dad says things like, “We never wanted to push you to do anything you didn’t want to do.”

    I love my parents dearly and do not want to seem as if I am pointing fingers at them and trying to blame them for all of my own insecurities and past decisions in regards to relationships. I know they tried to be the best they knew how.

    I still enjoy visiting them in my life (I am 43 and they are in their late 60s). Our relationship feels much more like good friends and not parents-to-son. They have never been “touchy-feely” types and hugs are strained and uncomfortable. Any mention of “I love you” would have to be initiated by me, or it is never said.

    So, with this long post, how do I feel this is this related to “falling in love—(read becoming obsessed)” with women who exhibit BPD-type personalities?

    It was the high I always felt when someone was so intensely interested in everything about me; emotionally, intellectually, physically, etc. And the high was always the most intense with someone I felt really needed me to save them! (They all either felt abandoned by a father, abused by a step-father or someone, had horrible relationships with men in the past, etc.)

    Then when they moved into the push-pull, cold-shoulder stages, I would chase that high by trying to be everything for them in order to regain it. I would change myself, fix myself, ignore important aspects of my own life, friends, etc. just to impress them so they would “love” me.
    Whenever I met someone that wasn’t like this, it usually didn’t last long. I would always break up with them because I just couldn’t feel myself “falling in love” with them. I think the reality was, they were happy, well-adjusted and did not need me to come riding in on my white horse to “save them” and be the hero!

    This is where the problem belongs to me. Wish me luck on another long journey trying to recover from my last addiction!

    • Tim, that is profoundly astute. It is also identical to my life situation. Have you read a book called Facing Love Addiction by Pia Mellody? I’ve ordered it, and I believe it will be very beneficial.

  • Yes Heartless you’re right, you don’t have to have low-self esteem to enter into these relationships. When I met my Bpd Ex…I was preparing to graduate from college, I was extremely happy with how I had improved myself as a young maturing adult and at that time afte not being in a relationship in 3 years, I felt I was ready to share myself with someone. Two out of those 3 years I had developed a friendship with a lovely young lady same age as me and we were on the same course of life. That was the woman I had my eye on in pursuing a relationship with around that time. We had already established a strong foundation with each other that was mutual and understanding with potential for something better.

    THEN, I met this extremely attractive girl 4 years younger. We chatted..hooked up and sparks flew. The s*x was incredible and she seemed to flick a light inside of me. It was an overwhelming feeling of instant connection. Her personality seemed to match her great sexual instincts. My BPD ex didn’t seem to have issues to be in need of rescue of in the beginning and she seemed unique, interesting and normal. I never felt the impulse to rescue as I have met a few women who had issues but I never felt the need to be superman for them. I never established a love relationship with these women and I never felt the impulse to prove to any woman that I’m different from how other men have treated them including my ex.

    I took my time establishing a relationship with her for I wanted to get to know her better before i just jumped in but I just kept falling harder for her. I soon noticed red flags, but discounted them as I wrote off her push/pull and inconsiderate behavior to me having needs as simple misunderstandings. As I later found out, she had a lot of issues especially after we reconciled after our 1st break up of 5 months. Due to the since of compassion I felt for her and the delusion that their was something mutually special I then began to tailor myself towards her needs while unwittingly forgetting about myself. I ended up being punished for caring and expressing my needs as they were met with inconsideration and invalidation. She showed and extreme lack of respect, empathy, and rarely communicated with me in a direct manner. Everything were mind games with her it seemed.

    Basically, her BPD nature had an delayed effect on me as she slowly worn threw my healthy boundaries in complete time of being involved with her. I think what made me vulnerable to her was the fact I was naive, inexperienced in relationships in general and had a distorted belief about relationships and what love is. As I mentioned, I was open to being in a committed relationship at the time so my BPD ex-girlfriend came into my life with perfect timing. As I was open for a close meaningful relationship, I was also blinded by the seduction, adoration, and aura of her ways. Which I mistakened for something to build on. I realize that I didn’t have as firm as boundaries as I thought I had and if I when I did establish them, I would lose sight of them. I also have learned of a greater depth within myself that I didn’t know of before ex-girlfriend. There’s a slogan that some people say, “IF YOU CAN’T TAKE ME AT MY WORST THEN YOU DON’T DESERVE ME AT MY BEST.” Don’t be fooled by this slogan for if taking someone at their worst involves disrespect, inconsideration, and abuse of your feelings then it’s not worth having them at their best.

    Also WARNING: If you ever meet someone and you feel an instant, overwhelming, powerful, warm feeling of connection with them…RUN

  • Hi so glad I found this website and BPD family – great to know I am not alone in falling for a BPD. My ex has most of the red flags – 20 out of 25 on your checklist! Why did I fall for her? Who wouldn’t – she was younger, very attractive, my first relationship with a woman – no doubt she enjoyed screwing me over in every way! She claimed to be this seasoned lesbian – she was not. Mind you she’s made up for it since!! She flirts heavily with men too. So my ego, vanity vulnerability – I was bored. With my life and had only a few friends having separated from my ex and moved location. I also had a lot of debt which she ‘helped’ me to organise and manage. But I had a good job and a steady income which she benefitted from. I also imvested heavily in HER life and lost mine. 2 yrs in I knew there. Were imbalances but she refused to admit any problems. I was with her for 5 yrs and in that time I allowed her to use me financially, emotionally, sexually and physically o became ill. Why? I guess I thought I could help her our – she had or claimed to have a very abusive chood, plus major neglect. Never again, pray God! I am no contact now (second tiMe) 3 weeks. First time 70 days. I left her Feb 2013 – had to go homeleSs with my daughter – chaos and drama rules her life. Now I am enjoying peace – it’s weird but with each day I get more perspective. Since our breakkup she’s had 3 gfriends (that I know of) one was bi-polar and she really pissed her off!! It lasted 6 months. At times, I despise her, want her to feel the pain but I realise she probably feels only rage and self pity. This is the toughest challenge of my life but I’m so glad to know I am not alone.

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