I have Borderline Personality Disorder ....

I have Borderline Personality Disorder ....

Postby Mike in Edmonton » Tue May 27, 2008 1:13 pm

and have driven my poor spouse of 22 years to the brink. I've finally come to grips with this aspect of myself, have embraced it and want to change. I realize the hurt and hardship I've caused by my actions and denials over the years. I also have bipolar disorder which I have under control (pharmaceutically anyways). I don't use these diagnoses as excuses to hide behind. They just give me a framework to understand who I've been, why I've been the way I've been and what I have to do to change my life for the better.

Problem is, my wife is so frayed because of living with me that she see's every boo-boo that I make (and I still make many) as signs that I haven't changed and am incapable of change. They are simple fuck-ups on my part (e.g. forgetting to shut a window, misinterpreting information that the insurance lady told me, etc.) but they take on incredible significance to her (for reasons I understand). To her they are examples of my still being manipulative and controlling. Maybe they are and I'm not aware of it, but to me they are examples of me being stupid and inattentive (which is nothing new).

My psychiatrist has told me and my wife that shehas a lot of hurt in her that has to get out and I simply have to "take it" or "zip it". This hurts sometimes because she is more than hurt: she can be very hurful back and vindictive to point of vengeful. (She was born in Scotland: I'm not sure if that makes a difference.) I understand and accept rfull esponsibility for all my past actions, and feel tremendous pain and remorse at the pain I've caused and the life I let slip by for us. This is the "bed I've made" for myself. I try to acknowledge her feelings and validate them in ways that were taught to me in the communications skills portion of an 18-week pshychodynamic course I was in, but sometimes that's hard to do because she can be very, very personal (again, I understand why). I contint to seek therapy and embrace my diagnoses as they help me understand who I am and why I've been the raging arsehole that I've been for all these years.

She's an angel and has always been there for me. I want and am trying to get better through therapy but find it hard to simply "take" her venting back without "snapping" and saying something stupid back. Once I do that, I'm back to square one and back in the dog house. Also, my minor boo-boos take on major significance (to her) that simpy aren't there. She imputes motives to my minor f*ck-ups.

Any tips on how to get through this? Does the wife of someone like me ever "empty" their hurt and anger? I do keep trying. She, my daughters (17 and 20) and my shrink say I need to show action. Other than listening/validatinig/ackowledging personal responsibility for past behaviour without making mistakes, I don't know what more "action' I can do.

Any thoughts or tips?

Many thanks in advance,

Mike in Edmonton
Married (luckily, despite my efforts) 21.5 years
Mike in Edmonton
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 12:56 pm

I think I got it!

Postby Mike in Edmonton » Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:37 am

My previous note pondered what the hell my wife meant by "I want to see some action" from me in terms of changes in my behaviour. It struck me the other day. She's complained that I'm emotionally detached and always have been. That's true. With all my psycho-diagnosis and therapy I realize that but more importantly, I think I realize why. Based on this, the "coin dropped" the other day and it struck me that the "actions" she needs to see from me aren't simply about being less of a b*tch around the house, or helping out with chores or validating her feelings, etc. It's about doing things that show I want her in my life. It's about creating those emotional bonds that I've never worked on developing. It's about showing that she is the centre of my life and that I realize and show this in various actions and behaviours I do and in the things I say. "Actions", to her, are signs that I still care and for once, am willing to meet here emotional needs for love, affection and intimacy, rather than get wrapped up in myself, my mental distractions or whatever other bright, shiny objects that occupy my mind. "Action" means no longer taking her for granted and showing her, through words and actions, that I will do so no more.

This might not sound profound to some (most?) but I think I'm onto something? Any thoughts? Now if only I can continue to work on the bipolar/borderline stuff that gets in the way.

Thanks in advance!

Mike in Edmonton
Mike in Edmonton
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 12:56 pm

Postby elizacol » Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:34 pm

I think you're on the right track! Kudos to you for figuring it out on your own.

Keep plugging along. You will slip, you will backtrack, but if you keep trying day in, and day out, your wife will begin to see that you mean business.

Good luck!
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Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:15 am

Postby Craig » Sat Jun 21, 2008 12:00 pm

Hey Mike,

I can relate to your experience. I am 45 and am 2 years into my second marriage. This past winter I was diagnosed with cyclothymia. It is a form of bipolar disorder complete with mood swings, suicidal thoughts, and a racing mind.

My cycles run every two weeks or so.
:D :arrow: :evil: :arrow: :D :arrow: :evil: :arrow: :D

I have been on Lithium and things are starting to even out in my brain. My wife has noticed positive changes, but is so angry at me it doesn't really matter.

All that I can do is keep going. I just do little things that I know she appreciates. She still won't really talk with me, but at least I know I am doing some right things.

You owe it to your wife and yourself to keep your brain running right. I do a lot more excerise and drink a lot less booze now. You might check out http://www.psycheducation.org/ for more about BP and yer brain.
http://www.cyclothymiacollective.com/ has good info and a good forum that may help you out.

Hang in
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Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:34 am
Location: Toronto

Postby Maginty » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:12 am

Hey Mike

My husband was diagnosed with BPD as well but he doesn't believe the diagnosis. I made the mistake early in our marriage of getting him off his meds as I was sure that a loving, beautiful man like him didn't need to be pumped full of drugs that were causing other health issues for him.

We are no longer together - 12 months now he has been gone and he tells me he has seen sides of my personality that means he will never want to live with me again. I know this is the BPD and that he is splitting and I am black, black, black. You probably know what I mean.

Your wife is probably so fearful that you will revert to your old behaviour patterns that she doesn't want to put her heart on the line again. But take heart, she is still with you so she obviously loves you a lot. It will just take a lot of time and effort on your part to prove to her that you are in control of this terrible disorder.

I wish you and you wonderful wife all the best Mike. I only wish I still had the love of my beautiful husband.
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Reaching Out

Postby Artemus9 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:36 pm

Dear Mike,

God bless your wife for being there; it sounds like things have been tough at times, and that the next time may not be far off. Points to you for working as hard as you have been, and for trying to make things happier for the both of you.

Your wife wants things to be great of course, but I am sure that she has built herself a thicker skin. And she could have had a thick skin by the time she was twelve for all I know. Unfortunately, it is not really helping either of you at this point.

I will not pretend to know the challenges of BPD, but I know women in an emotionally defensive posture, and it sucks. They are often so oriented in keeping themselves emotionally safe, and above the fray, that they have no room for giving and connecting to their spouse. What happens when a man looses that trust and support from his spouse; nothing good. His skin gets thicker, potential joy turns to mere tolerance, and he gives less too. Everyone retreats into their corners, and everyone is missing opportunities to make each other happy.

I read a great book recently, and need to re-read it. It's called the 5 Love Languages by Chapman, and the primary message that I gleaned from it was that the top. most important things that I would love from my wife are not necessarily the same top, most important things that she would love from me. Go figure. Simple when you think it through, but we all fall into the trap of believing that everyone, even our spouses, thinks the way that we do. Women love the book, and I think they even have a guy's version, but I have not seen it. Anyway, having a better clue as to what my wife truly appreciates has made a huge difference, and increased the trust and faith that she has in me to better make her happy, and it sounds here like your wife needs to be able to rebuild her trust in you from the bedrock up. Everything good will help. Be enthusiastic, but be careful.

Good luck.
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Postby halfer » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:50 pm

thanks for your post!!
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