I’ve written a lot on borderline personality disorder (BPD) on this blog largely because my mother has the disorder. It is not something I wish to vilify, and I don’t want to verbally mistreat people who have been diagnosed with it either. Of all the personality disorders, BPD is the most stigmatized. Many therapists refuse to treat it or see clients who carry the diagnosis altogether. That is a hard road to walk when one has the disorder, and it’s also a very difficult situation if you love someone with it. Where do you turn? What resources are available to you when there are so little available to your loved one with BPD?
Another inherent problem is that of diagnosis. Many people struggling with BPD are never diagnosed and, therefore, never treated due to 1) treatment resistance 2) refusal to seek help. The other factor? Gender bias within the clinical community vis-a-vis personality disorders themselves. Generally speaking, it is believed that BPD affects a larger percentage of women, but if one were to go into the field and poll practicing therapists, then what might one find? Do just as many men struggle with BPD? Probably. The disorder simply looks a bit differently. BPD has a different flavor in men than in women. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what those difference are?
In my almost pathological need to understand my ex-husband, I came upon three personality disorders: schizoid personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and fragile narcissism. I grew up with a borderline personality. I know the disorder very well. He does have some common traits most notably tantrum-like rages. This is when I’ve been physically hurt. He often doesn’t remember them. This is reminiscent of my mother. He also has very poor self-regulation which is a hallmark of the disorder. He can be very entitled and passive-aggressive. What does it all mean? It was an impossible mission to find anything meaningful written about BPD in relation to men. Until yesterday. I found a rather lengthy article devoted entirely to the subject. Sheri Schreiber, a therapist, posted it on her website. What she lacks in written communication skills she more than makes up for in content (I do acknowledge that Schreiber’s tone is judgmental towards the diagnosed borderline male which I do not agree with, thusly, perpetuating stigma). Allow me to introduce you to the topic of borderline personality disorder in men.
Who is he? What might he potentially look like?
“Borderline Personality Disorder in men is harder to recognize than in women, because their seductions are usually emotional, rather than sexual. The Male Borderline may appear ‘normal’ in contrast to other men, who seem so afraid of closeness, they’re back-peddling before your second date! For simplicity’s sake, this piece names the borderline disordered male, Casanova. Seducing women feeds his narcissism, and fills his core emptiness–it’s his addiction. Since he can’t form solid/healthy attachments, he takes hostages. Make sure you don’t become his next prisoner.
Initially, you may be taken with his unique openness and vulnerability, since you haven’t encountered this in other males you’ve known. It’s refreshing to find a guy who doesn’t censor his feelings/thoughts, and seems emotionally accessible! It’s incredible that this man appears so completely without guile, he almost instantly puts you at ease and inspires your trust.
You’re appreciated for your qualities and attributes, and admired/respected for the woman you’ve become. He’s extremely attentive at first, and wants to be with you constantly–which is like music to your soul. As this courtship picks up speed, you feel fortunate to have found such a considerate, loving, thoughtful man–but just as you begin trusting that his pronouncements of love are genuine and start envisioning your future together, things change.”
When people ask me why I married my husband, I would like them to read this. This is exactly how it was. He was everything that I had hoped for in terms of a partner, not counting the sex, but I was a sexual mess myself. I anticipated growth and maturation in us both. Schreiber goes on to explain:
“As soon as a Borderline senses you’re really his, he distances himself, shuts down or finds fault with you. Your first mistake, is thinking that’s about you!”
This is absolutely true. This pattern of behavior started in my marriage one month after we were married, and I was extremely confused. I didn’t understand why my husband was ignoring me. I thought I had done something wrong. I determined to try harder. This is a rather accurate description:
The Borderline male is incapable of sustaining any type of feeling, including altruistic love. He’ll act-out his ambivalence or upsets, rather than speaking with you about what’s bothering him–and he’ll always put the blame on you for his feelings. You may presume that if you just try a little harder to make him happy, it’ll be possible to have a harmonious relationship with this guy, but you’re just dreaming. Borderlines thrive on crisis, drama and pain, which contribute to their sense of aliveness–it’s the main reason many are treatment resistant.
This is an important reminder:
“These males are love-avoidant. It isn’t that they haven’t wanted love–it’s that they’ve never been able to trust it. You won’t change this, regardless of how much you adore him–or how ‘safe’ you make it for him emotionally.”
This was scarily familiar:
You may be a strong, well-established, successful woman with a mind of her own, but the Borderline has an uncanny ability to wear you down until you’re second-guessing and doubting yourself. Fairly soon after your romance takes flight, he could coax you to “open up” or let down your guard, and trust him more. Up to this point, his behaviors have been loving–but you’ve gone with your instincts so far, and it takes you awhile to let someone in really close.
As was this:
Your borderline lover is hypersensitive–to well, just about everything. This guy will have you feeling just horrible about hurting his feelings, even when you know you didn’t mean a thing by that silly, offhand comment you made about one of his relatives. He’ll sulk, become distant, or angrily bust your ovaries over some stupid little oversight, to where you’ve begun walking on eggshells around him, just to avert these agonizing occurrences! Molehills become mountains, and no matter how careful you are, you’re gonna step on a land mine–and there isn’t a darned thing you can do about it. It won’t be long, before the joyful parts of yourself (like your sense of humor) die off.
This doesn’t mean he won’t be sweet to you at times, or even generous–but you feel imprisoned by his volatility, and how easily he’s upset. Soon, you’ll be so cautious about setting him off, you practically become robotic without feelings or needs–basically, a Stepford Wife. Your body’s still here, but your spirit and soul feel dead. Think you love him? Loving is never painful, unless you also have abandonment and attachment issues–and if you didn’t, you’d already be outta there!
Sadly, this reads like a page out of my journal:
Contrary to popular belief, the borderline male isn’t necessarily compulsively drawn to sex–and in truth, he may be withholding and aloof concerning your needs for sensual contact. The Casanova Complex is purely about seduction. He has to exert control over you, whether that be financially, emotionally or sexually. Interactions must be on his terms, or he doesn’t want to play. This can take the form of ‘booty calls’ in the middle of the night–or whenever it’s least convenient for You. He may press you to satisfy his sexual proclivities (anal intercourse, fellatio, donning provocative costumes, sadomasochistic practices, watching porn, etc.), without any concern for what’s comfortable or pleasurable for you. What else would you expect from a narcissistic guy?
This is particularly noteworthy:
A waif-like male could be considered The Quiet Borderline. You might regard him as effete, as he can seem relatively devoid of masculine essence (if you didn’t know better, you’d swear he’s gay!). He’s soft-spoken, passive, and avoids confrontation of any kind. He could be drawn to strong, independent women, if his mom was domineering or controlling–but they’re not sexually attracted to him. They may embrace him as a friend, but getting naked with this guy would feel akin to climbing into bed with a gal-pal. Unless a woman is fearful of men and masculinity, she’ll be wanting a counterbalance to her feminine aspects–and won’t settle on guys who are disconnected from their primal natures (which is fallout from a castrating parent, during boyhood).
And then, in order to stay in a relationship like this, we are left facing this:
Borderline males are passive-aggressive. They’ll hide out in their caves until you back off anything that pertains to your relationship, rather than have an honest conversation with you on important issues. With StarrMan, I quickly learned to bury my needs and feelings; the instant I tried to express myself, he’d just shut-down/withdraw. Half the time, I’d work to fix that mess–until my therapist back then, set me straight. There’s nothing worse than having someone exit a relationship this way. You’re damned if you open your mouth because you get abandoned by him, and damned if you don’t, because you’re betraying yourself.
This is all very descriptive of my relationship with my ex-husband. It was a shock to read. There was validation, but, at times, I had to stop and wonder how I missed it. Why does one stay in something that is so clearly irreparable? Was it hope? Was it fear? Was I so entrenched in tending to my daughters and their needs that I just completely missed the boat? Was it the “frog in the boiling water” dynamic? Was I just a little too familiar with “trying harder” and feeling inadequate? Was this relationship a template that I instinctively understood? I can’t tell you. What I can say now is that if this is a dynamic in your relationship, then you need to know that the only thing you can change is you. You cannot change him. That is a shocking thing to say. I once thought that I could. If I tried harder, loved harder, gave more, did more, sacrificed more, wanted less, diminished myself, and even killed off my heart, then he would change. He will not. No matter what you do, you cannot make another person change.
You must build a life for yourself. Build your own happiness. If this is the kind of person to whom you have tied your happiness, then I suggest that you do a personal inventory and ask yourself what you really want. I had to do that. It was hard.
But, it was worth it.
The Male Borderline: Surviving the Crash after Your Crush by Sheri Schreiber M.A.
While I’m sure you mean well, I think you might want to educate yourself about attachment trauma rather than speak on BPD in a seemingly authoritative manner. While there is certainly value in speaking from the perspective of personal experience, there’s additional benefit in thorough research in a topic to be discussed. The latest in neuroscience findings suggests that people are not ‘disordered’. That’s a made up concept in order to further the aims of the psychiatry profession. There’s no truth in the notion that someone has become pathological as a result of a genetic brain disorder. The origins of BPD can be found in childhood trauma, neglect and abuse (especially sexual abuse!) Close to 80% of individuals with BPD are estimated to have been sexually abused as children. I would suggest you listen to Dr. Bessel van der Kolk’s presentation at the 2013 Annual BPD meetings at Yale on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2NTADxDuhA This presentation explains through statistics and research why there are for more ‘borderline’ females than males. Traumatized men tend to exhibit narcissistic or antisocial qualities and behaviors as opposed to borderline.
Stigma is perpetuated by people that insist on using the antiquated, pathologizing term, ‘borderline’ while remaining ignorant about its origins. A lack of a trauma informed understanding or sensitivity when it comes to treatment or the origins of behavior does not facilitate tolerance, compassion or understanding of a very painful condition. It does not help people get adequate trauma therapy or treatment. Instead people are shamed, blamed for their behavior and made to feel they need to ‘stay in the closet’ for fear that others will not understand them.
While I am familiar with Sheri Schreiber’s work, I can tell you that many people do not like her (or view her as a BPD expert) because of her often disrespectful and judgmental attitude that shows a lack of compassion for the borderline. Many of the things you quoted about borderline are not an accurate or fair depiction of the borderline, although you may personally identify. I will not name all of the errors because I don’t have the time. I will say that this is inaccurate: “Borderlines thrive on crisis, drama and pain, which contribute to their sense of aliveness–it’s the main reason many are treatment resistant.” First of all, ‘treatment resistant’ is a stigmatizing term that therapist who are not trauma informed, and don’t like their borderline patients like to say because they have no idea how to treat them. If therapists would treat a person with a childhood trauma history with compassion, if they address the underlying pain (trauma, sexual abuse, etc.) with appropriate treatments, they might experience a more positive outcome with their patient. Instead these therapist prefer to say ‘treatment resistant’ so to deflect from their own personal failures as therapists.
Secondly, ‘borderlines’ never truly feel alive because they were ‘soul murdered’ as children? Where would this sense of aliveness originate? Borderlines employ many defenses as do other ‘so called’ pathological individuals. It would probably be more accurate, given current neuroscience research to suggest that the borderline engages in ‘flight’ behavior, obsessive compulsion, escapism or addiction. One of the central problems a survivor of childhood trauma experiences is an inability to identify, feel or tolerate their painful feelings. If an individual cannot be present to their own pain, then this individual will logically need to find another means to deal with otherwise intolerable feelings – this might involve denial, suppression, projection or another form of escape through sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.
I will end my comment except to say ‘thank you’ for giving me the motivation to write this response. I am a trauma survivor who suffered the effects of intergenerational trauma. My mother was a ‘borderline’, but unfortunately for me, she never received adequate treatment for her condition that was caused by trauma in her childhood. I understand the difficulties, pain and frustration connected to an association with someone with this condition. But I have also experienced some of the ‘symptoms’ myself as trauma is often reenacted and transmuted through generations. It’s not something we chose. But it is something that can be successfully treated. ‘Borderlines’ can change, they can heal, they can transcend ‘borderline’ despite what Schreiber states, but it does require extensive trauma informed therapy or depth work. Often several years. Most spouses are not going to stick around for that. And many borderlines are not motivated enough to change or they refuse to look at their painful childhoods. It is childhood that is the source of pain. Any other kind of therapy is ‘window dressing’ as far as I am concerned. A trauma survivor (or borderline) might ‘act’ more civil, but they won’t be any closer to healing, being able to trust others or ever develop the capacity for intimacy without intensive therapy treatment.
I have also had a relationship with a borderline man. I know they exist. It can be an extremely frustrating and ultimately unsatisfactory relationship often based in a ‘trauma bond’ (childhood trauma history was experienced by both partners). It was not surprising, in retrospect, that I was involved with a borderline male given my mother also had some of the same unstable and unpredictable qualities. It was my template for love.
Passive aggressive and ‘door slamming’ behavior are definite red flags as is the seductive aspects. I think a lot of the passages you quoted are truthful, but with an emphasis being on the crazy making aspects of the relationship itself.
As they say, “it takes two to tango.” The most important lines she offers the partner of a borderline male are: “Loving is never painful, unless you also have abandonment and attachment issues–and if you didn’t, you’d already be outta there!” While I can understand feels validating for those who have suffered pain as a result of these relationship dynamics, the partner does nothing to heal themselves if they do not acknowledge their own unhealthy qualities. A fully integrated human being does not get themselves entangled in relationships with a non-integrated or not fully mature human being. This is not so much a judgment, but the truth.
Once you get past the hurt of being involved with a man like this, it’s important to reflect upon oneself. What work is still left undone on a personal level in relation to oneself, not the ‘borderline’ partner! Forgiveness for oneself seems to me an important part of the work. You cannot change the other person, but you can change yourself and develop a deeper level of compassion and understanding for others who suffer.
Thank you for your response. You will have to read this post in the context of my blog. This was one post. I am well-informed on BPD and neuroscience. I will disagree with you on a few points though. Treatment resistance is a very real phenomenon in personality disorders, and your stating that the term solely exists to scapegoat the client is myopic. I do know numerous therapists who will not treat a borderline; I am also very aware of stigma and the stigma attached to name. This is why many therapists are attempting to rename the disorder Emotional Disregulation Disorder. That seems fair to me. The current term is rooted in a much older understanding of the disorder. I am very aware that most personality disorders are based in childhood trauma and neglect. This was one post. Out of 200. Very little is written about male BPD. I posted an introduction to the topic and a pinhole view at that. I have spent years researching the topic and have read every book available on the subject as well as interviewing therapists. The only successful treatment approach to date available for BPD is DBT. Trauma work is very difficult for those who struggle with BPD due to very low distress tolerance and poor emotional regulation not to mention poor memory recall due to the hippocampus being overridden by the amygdala. Once again, this was one post written as an introduction to the topic of what BPD in a man might look like. Whether or not everyone likes the therapist’s opinion? That’s neither here nor there. She’s not entirely wrong. Not everyone likes Eric Maisel. Not everyone likes Schnarch’s work either. Attachment theory is the bright and shining star in the psychology community right now. Schnarch’s work on differentiation is the up and coming one.
I read your comment very quickly. I apologize as I dashed off my first response. BPD is a spectrum disorder. You don’t appear to like that word, but it’s the word that the English language allows for at this time. I prefaced my post very carefully. And my post was entirely experiential. It was about MY experience. With one person. Not with every man in the world who may or may not carry a DX from the DSM-V. There are people in the world who are very low functioning on the borderline spectrum and who will never respond to treatment. If you carried the DX of BPD and sought treatment and have recovered, then I am very happy for you and wish you all the best.
In almost all the literature that exists, going back to the root of trauma in those who are mid to low functioning borderline (or histrionic, schizoid,etc) is nearly impossible due to the neuroscience that you point out. So, while I wholeheartedly agree with you on what it takes to heal, I have yet to see broad results within the diagnosed PD schema. Individual? Yes. DBT still remains the only effective treatment, but I have hope that new treatment approaches will emerge in the future. I do wonder about EMDR as a potential treatment.
Intergenerational abuse? Very familiar. Me, too. You are preaching to the converted.
Reblogged this on Lucky Otter's Haven and commented:
This is a good article about an overlooked subject–the male borderline. BPD is usually associated (and diagnosed) in women; men are more often diagnosed with NPD. But they aren’t the same disorder, and this article explains what a man with the introverted/fragile sort of BPD can be like. (The more aggressive types of male Borderlines are often mistaken as having Antisocial Personality Disorder due to their impulsivity and acting-out behavior, which sometimes gets them in trouble with the law).
Everything Shari said is so true. I was married to one for 17 years. I knew something was wrong with him. Shari was spot on. She explained what I lived. Examples were real
Thank you for your comment.
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Thank you for this post. I’m trying to heal myself after being a relationship with a waif BPD male. Everything Sheri’s article states is true. My bpd male just told me he couldn’t see future after I suspected him cheating towards the end after the honeymoon phase. After he had borrowed money from me over and over again and repeatedly ignored me when he got he paid. Kept me away from his friends and family. Only saw me on his terms. Compared me to other women in a very passive aggressive way while we were out. Everything was fine as long as I was paying for it. When my wallet got thin he’d disappear to be with his other female “friend”. I couldn’t ask questions about these periods where he’d just go dark. It would be thrown back into my face as me being insecure. Triangulation was a big part of that relationship. I always felt like he was hiding something or someone but could never put my finger on it. He was also really horrible at giving and would make it known that if he had better plans or just didn’t feel like seeing me, he wouldn’t. He’d get very upset if he did want to see me after I had been mad about something he said or did and refused him. It was like I just “had to get over it” but if it was me he would punish me and ignore me for days or weeks. He’d say he cared for me but didn’t love me and sometimes he’s say he loved me but not very often. He’d make sure to emphasize that I was one of the lucky ones that got close to him. We didn’t really go out much and he liked to stay in and order food. If I called him out on his behavior he would often say “you’re right, I’m an asshole, I’m sorry” but then would repeat the same or similar behavior within weeks. Weeks became days. The respect went out the window and so did the sex. As long as he was getting blown that’s all that mattered, not my needs. He then revealed to me that he while we were seeing each other that he engaged in paid sex with a customer from his work over 15 times un protected. I was so upset and hurt. I went to go get tested. He gloated about it and said he was the envy of his friends. I couldn’t believe that this was the guy that fell for. Somehow I took him back but it always reared it’s ugly head when I got upset. It never left me that he could be that soulless. After the break up I had to go through therapy and eventually stopped because I couldn’t afford the sessions. I go up in down with recovery. I hope I never see him again. I have a lot of anger towards him the damage that endured in that relationships. I also blame myself for not having enough self worth to walk away and put up with all that I did. Mental illness is no joke and very insidious. You can’t see or understand it while it’s happening. You just know that something is off and the relationships really isn’t that good other than the sex. My ex also had bipolar 2 and was unmedicated. He was diagnosed with both BP and BPD in his teens. I look to the internet to educate as myself as much as I can. I also have to remember that I need to stop focusing on his problems and worry about my own. I still don’t feel like the same person anymore and feel that relationship compromised my own emotional and mental well being.
You have been through so much, and you have a lot of insight. Are you able to enter into a healing process now? I wish that for you. A healing journey…having been there myself. Still there really.
Sheri Schreiber is not a scientist
she is an internet blog writer who charges money to help people hate other people that little bit more
she is bitter person generalising about millions of other people based on her own relationship experience
What millions of people is she generalizing about, Bob? How is she encouraging hatred?
Also, just because someone doesn’t have an M.S. but rather an M.A. doesn’t make their point of view invalid. That is a logical fallacy.
I’ve read Sheri’s article and I know some people think she’s harsh, but her article gave me back some of myself. I realize now that I just went through the pits of despair with a coworker (who is very good-looking, but extremely insecure) I believed in him so much, and maybe that was my biggest mistake. We “dated” (although I’m sure he would somehow deny it as such) for over a year and a half, having gone out 10 times. If that isn’t dating, I don’t know what is. I think his case is a bit special in that I couldn’t even get him to kiss me…I tried 3 times! I’m at least appealing to men (as I know because of comments from online dating recently), and as he even told me about other guys at work that talked about how cute I was. Believe me, I’m not being narcissistic, that’s the complete opposite of me. I was floored when he told me other guys at work talked about me.
One of the last times we had dinner, I told him I wasn’t hideous and most guys would probably kiss me. He said, “I’m not like other guys”, and then sped off. We had dinner one time after that (9 months later mind you), and that time I felt like he was really trying. Although, this time he was very antsy during dinner, asking me why he’s always angry, to which I replied “because you don’t let love in”. He’s a mess, really. I’m not perfect, but this guy is so superficial, which I think in his mind makes up for the mess he is inside. I even told him, hey, I don’t have the perfect body outside, but I’m good inside. I like myself, I honestly do. It’s taken me many years to get to that point, many years.
I saw him as this guy that didn’t trust women, especially his mom who abandoned him at the age of 3, and an ex-wife who used him to stay in the US. In my naive mind, I thought if I could just earn his trust, then the rest is going to be great! Wrong. I earned his trust, but once I poured my heart out and showed him what caring and love could be, he shut me out stomped on me like a bug. Blind-sided. I had no idea what was going on. Here’s a guy that admitted that he liked me, even said at our last date that he talked to his friends about me (in a good way), and then he does nothing about it? It’s still bizarre to me, as I’m used to having somewhat normal relationships (I was married for 10 years). I honestly don’t know what part of me decided that this guy would be a good idea to pursue, because I thought I’d advanced from bad decisions like that. Oh well, live and learn hopefully. 🙂
Anyway, thanks for your blog, it’s articles like this that are helping me cope. I really did feel like I was going insane at times with the push/pull that was going. The sad thing is that I did honestly care about him, whereas I think no one else ever has. It’s strange to me that someone would run away from someone they liked that showed they cared. Isn’t the the whole point?
To answer your last question, welcome to the world of disordered personalities, and I don’t say that with coldness or judgment. So many people have been abused/neglected in childhood that they grow up with attachment problems and identity issues manifesting in adulthood. There is loneliness and a desire to reach out and form attachments later on in life, but a void of interpersonal skills that will help them do it. I am very sorry that you went through that whole shenanigan.
We all do the best we can with the information that we get along the way with people we meet. Looking back, we slap our foreheads and think, “Oh right! I should have seen it!” But, who’s to say? You knew what you knew in the moment. And your past self got you to where you are now. And your present self will move you to a still better place. Keep going! Best, MJ
I find your article so re-assuring. Sometimes I feel so isolated. The madness of being married to someone with emotional dysregulation and the subsequent break up does leave a devastating loneliness. As much as friends want to support, they simply do not understand . For them it is just a divorce, he has run off with another again etc. For me the trauma is about loving someone you cannot help because they refuse to recognise they have a problem. They need to lie, have other women , manipulate because they believe you are the problem for not loving them enough. It is always your fault for not meeting their needs. They behave like children and you want to nurture them , you try to set boundaries but they are trampled on. It is like trying to solve an unsolvable puzzle. They love you and hate you intensely. When they eventually leave, you are lost because you have spent so long trying to cater to their needs. You are so used to the high intensity drama it has become like a drug. You lose yourself esteem, yourself, your will to live. Only those who have been in one of these relationships can truly understand the devastation and I am always grateful when I find others who understand.
I think I can only click ‘like’ to indicate that this resonates with me. What you write here resonates with me because what you say describes my relationship with my mother so adequately as well in addition to my marriage. It is the definitive caretaking role. We begin to exist only to meet the needs of another person. Who we are gets lost. I am so sorry that you experienced this. The good part in all this is that there is a road out. And, as painful as it is, you get to discover who you are again completely apart from them. The pain, as intense as it gets, is appropriate to what you experienced. And that intensity is its own validation. You experienced something terrible. It should hurt. You should be lonely now. You should be going through something bad now. There is an aftermath to all that shit. That tells you that what happened to you in that relationship was bad–even if no one can say it for you or to you. Even if no one can ever know the depth of it. Your pain knows. And, as hard as I have found my own experiences, that pain has been a recognition in and of itself. And…it gets better. If you stick with a healing process, you’ll reclaim your identity. Life will open up for you. It will. I counted on this and still do when the lights go out. They always come back on. They will for you, too. They will. Keep going.
Thank you … I just wish I was at least 30 years younger, it seems very late in life to have to go on this journey of discovery. At 56 I now have one dead husband and one divorced husband – life’s rich pattern !! At least I can now get to sympathise with the life of singletons too !
I don’t want to be a contrarian, but I don’t think it’s too late for you. I’m 45, and i’m completely remaking my life. I’ve known people to start over in their 60s. I don’t think you’re at a dead end. Not at all.
I’m a male BPD.
My life was a mess. I did not ask for it, and I did not deserve the rough start I had. I was initially given a diagnosis years ago. That therapist lacked the skill necessary so she focused on some self esteem issues and I was left to fend on my own again. I went nearly ten years as stable, but life has a way of not letting you forget.
Now I am desperate for help. I see the BPD in ways that I never could before. I am realising how the men that looked like they wanted to fight me might have been thinking something else, and all the women I know might not have been looking at me with fear or disgust.
I know now that there has been so many.. connection I missed. I try so hard. to control my rages, both the quite and the loud, but I have no idea how to do so. I’ve even held internal arguments trying to get myself to back down and come back to reason.
My IQ is decent. My EQ…is a handicap.
I want help. I am desperate for help. I do not have a job that allows me to pay for years of expensive therapy. There is no community nurse for BPD.
So for all those who say a male border resists treatment…I say to them, What treatment?
I really appreciate your comment, Norm, particularly your willingness to talk about how you experience your emotions and your past life as it were.
No, you didn’t deserve the rough start you had. Not a one of us does. I also understand that difficult circumstances, “life” as you put it, always reminds us of our weaknesses, and that experience can be very discouraging and so, so shaming.
Your inner emotional experiences sound very difficult to experience, and I’m sorry that this is what you go through. I do want to recognize something though. It is a profound insight–that you see connections between what you used to see in how men and women behaved with you interpersonally and how you experienced your interactions with them. This insight alone has taken so many people who struggle with BPD years to acquire. You have done it.
What I do want to explain is treatment resistance v. willingness. The best way I can describe it is in terms of bacteria. Some bacteria do not respond to antibiotics–like certain kinds of mycoplasma–due to differences in their cell membrane. BPD and other personality disorders can be a lot like this. Resistance is not the same as willingness. I have known people with BPD who were willing to go to therapy, but no amount of therapy could penetrate how they were thinking because the therapeutic model being used was the wrong one–sort of like using the wrong antibiotic to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Combine unwillingness and resistance to therapy and then you’ve really got a problem.
You are willing AND you have gained insight into your personality that will help you gain ground in a therapeutic process. So, the issue now is: What model should you be using?
You need DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). This is THE approach for BPD and has been for a long time. It sounds like the issues for you are 1)finding a clinician trained in it and 2) affording it.
Here is one suggestion, but I don’t know if it solely available in the US: https://www.betterhelp.com/helpme/?utm_source=AdWords&utm_medium=Search_PPC_c&utm_term=dbt+therapy+online_e&utm_content=48365242688&network=g&placement=&target=&matchtype=e&utm_campaign=384672130&ad_type=text&adposition=1t1&gclid=Cj0KCQiAh_DTBRCTARIsABlT9MYBNgjJt1SkQA1nFVUVmsYXkK1pFiBZnURKp2Klv29lLucXaib2tsEaAobTEALw_wcB¬_found=1&gor=helpme
Here is the Canadian online therapy: https://www.betterhelp.com/helpme/?utm_source=AdWords&utm_medium=Search_PPC_c&utm_term=online+therapy+canada_e&utm_content=35881978543&network=g&placement=&target=&matchtype=e&utm_campaign=384715690&ad_type=text&adposition=1t1&gclid=CjwKCAiAqvXTBRBuEiwAE54dcHfEy4IF71y81t4xA3d3c5kkBC681War0l5-8ZvalMgrcEbH7cM9dRoCtT0QAvD_BwE¬_found=1&gor=helpme
Here is another online option for Canada: https://thelifelinecanada.ca/pattern-interrupt/ecounselling/
Lastly, I recommend this to everyone who wants to look into DBT: https://www.amazon.com/Dialectical-Behavior-Therapy-Skills-Workbook/dp/1572245131/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1518181705&sr=8-2&keywords=DBT&dpID=516VuY2krdL&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch
It is accessible, easy to follow, and shows you exactly how to do the very things that you can’t right now.
This is all extremely affordable and accessible. More importantly, it will start a process that will lead you in the direction you want to go. There are resources available. Sadly, they are not easy to find, but they do exist.
Keep going, Norm. You are going in the right direction.
I will try this a second time, my first attempt I must have not submitted.
First, thank you for the links. The Canadian ones would have worked for me a decade ago, back when I had the initial therapy, unfortunately I am in the UK now. BPD treatment has a minimum two year waiting period and that starts only after seeing a psychiatrist. I have been waiting to speak to one since July last year.
You are right though, I should take initiative and get some self help books. I did read somewhere that treating BPD on your own is risky. I however do not have a choice, because I made the biggest mistake any BPD can do. I had children.
If I could, I would have a typical BPD end, that is not an option anymore. I was a very sensitive child, my middle daughter is sensitive just like I was. I am now doing all I can to not cause her trauma like I had. Its the cycle I fear repeating in another generation. Of course her being female makes it all the worse for me knowing what she could end up being like. This just feeds my anxiety and…okay I will stop there. obviously a therapist would be ideal, I think I need one, HA!
Any other advice you are willing to give, I would appreciate.
Okay, you are right. You should not treat your own BPD just as most of us should not treat ourselves. And the reason I say this is because we need outside perspectives to help us. How do we know when our thoughts our skewed if not for a separate measuring stick?
Here is what I do know about psychiatry after having been mired down in the world of psychiatry with my mother and my daughters who have brain-based mental health issues–bipolar disorder. Psychiatrists are not psychotherapists although–IF they are involved in continuing education–they are good at recommending treatment and prescribing medication for mood stabilization if that is what is needed.
Now, there are online programs in the UK, and the online therapy community is BOOMING in the UK as elucidated by this article in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/12/online-therapy-thousands-but-does-it-work
It is in no way ideal for treating BPD, but it is a stepping stone into something better particularly if you are stuck in a holding pattern.
There is this, and it looks to be UK-based: https://www.online-therapy.com/bpd
Look at this: http://therapymarket.co.uk/
There are resources available. I don’t know which ones will be suitable for you, but what you are doing now is knocking on doors. There are a lot of mediocre therapists in the world. Among them, there are some bad ones. Among those, there are some truly gifted one. It falls on the ones who really need it often at crisis time to do the looking, and I know how hard that is. I’ve been there. I’m sorry that the NHS has been less than helpful (you’re not the first person I’ve heard say this BTW). I don’t know if this is helpful at all. Your willingness is brilliant. Your desire to experience health and provide something better for your children is admirable.
I hope that this is helpful in some small way. No one should walk the road of healing and recovery alone.
Thank you for the clarification, I had indeed misread the earlier tone.
Your links are great, these should be seen on more BPD forums and websites. The Canadian ones would have worked but unfortunately I’m now 10 years in the UK.
Now after reading what you replied to me, I think I have misrepresented myself. I have a situation that does not permit me to ignore my symptoms anymore. I did the one thing no male BPD should ever do. I had children…
So, without the kids, I think I would have met a typical BPD end. The truth is I dream of it, so much, but my kids. I was a sensitive child, my middle child is so sensitive. The terror of causing her or them trauma and having the cycle repeat with another generation holds my self indulgence.
What I’ve done to try to help myself is read, read, read. I watched two films and started a show that I used to watch but with a new perspective. It’s helped me see how I can be at a point and then it’s just the next thing and I snap and say and do the meanest things. Things that will you with guilt and shame.
I find I can analyse what I’ve done, but it tends to take about a week to get me to a point where I can see everything in a different light. That is when the lightbulbs light up and I realise that I’ve done this because of that, I did that because of this and so on. Then I can TRY to repair the damage.
I have been trying to prepare for a therapist or psychiatrist by starting what was at first a BPD symptom record but has turned into 140 pages of memoirs and reflections from various points and people from my past. I’ve even been attempting to reconstruct a personal timeline. I fear I will have a thousand pages before I speak to anyone with a liscence.
I’ve lost my point so I’ll sum up now a few last minute thoughts. I have asked my GP for help, back in July. Thus far I’ve recived a phone call from a service called “talking therapies,” whom told me I was too complex. My doctor had prescribed me anti depressants, I don’t think she should have as it really spun me out of control for a few months. Thankfully I am three weeks into the withdrawal so I’m coming back to my normal crazy.
Oh, if anyone else would like to study the films and shows I did to help me spot …BPD ticks?? Anyway here they are; Thirteen, Falling Down, and Nurse Jackie.
I have bpd. Years of being misdiagnosed as anxiety disorder or bipolar caused me to run away from therapy. I didn’t stay away from therapy because I was resistant, I stayed away because I felt it wasn’t helping my issues , which at the time wasn’t diagnosed. The suicidal thoughts, the fear of being alone, my rage which I internalized towards myself and always blamed myself for everything really took its toll. I guess I would fall into the str8 guy that acts gay category. One problem with that subjective label though is my fear of being naked and open with someone and that fear of rejection. I have to feel comfortable and safe with that person before I can engage in sex. I am a passionate guy but seduction was never my thing and using sex for self esteem boosts or conquests wasn’t my issue either. I needed constant reassurance. I could be funny and normal in short spurts. But my image of myself would change on a whim and I would go from confident and sociable to withdrawn on a dime and I blamed myself for it. I knew it wasn’t normal and I desperately wanted to be normal which let to always feeling suicidal. Job hopping was my main symptom. I would start a job and be great at it than I would find justification to leave the job a day or a week ago I loved because I couldn’t handle my fear of not being good enough. The thing that kept me from thinking about suicide is my 3 wonderful kids who I overcompensate for my own childhood by doting on them and showing them love every chance I get. I fear they will turn out like me or think they might think i abandoned them and that fear keeps me kind of stable more so than in my twenties. I do need therapy though but your right a lot of therapists won’t treat me. Every person is different and manipulating or narcissistic tendencies wasn’t part of what my issues are. I think normal people sometimes think their is an underlying motive for why a person with bpd in a relationship acts out or needs assurances, in reality we don’t even know which is why we sometimes are just as confused by our own behavior as you are. Emotions are painful and I am highly emotional …I go through periods where I can be emotional and sensitive and cold and dissociative and I don’t have the faintest clue why. My kids have a great mom and we have joint custody of them but I do understand why she had had enough of me, however she does respect my insights. I am great at reading people and situations just horrible with myself. She loves having non emotional convos with me. She knows from years of trying to deal with me that anything emotional and I either shut down or get highly anxious and sometimes panic. Hope this helps everyone understand each person with bpd is different and men get a bad enough rap for the bad ones. We are all trying to find peace of mind.
Thank you for your contribution to this conversation. I do not want to vilify anyone with BPD. Having this conversation is very important, and I very much appreciate your willingness to be open. MJ
seriously, you said so many things that are a mirror of me! I have had gay men think I was gay, I struggle with suicidal thoughts. The jobs.. same thing, and the kicker (I was wondering if i wrote your post at this point and forgot) I have 3 little girls and its preventing their trauma that keeps me going. I was only when you said you are no longer with your wife that I knew you were someone else. Wow.
Just to update, if anyone cares, Ive been signed up for a new program, a pathways model. It starts in a few months and ive got a therapist for another 6 sessions until then. Ive lost count but thats been years to get to that point.
Joe, wow, ive got to read that again, I cant believe how much you and I are similar.
Hey, what you write is *exactly* my (now separated) husband. Really to the hait, it’s nuts.
I learnt about borderline 6 months ago by chance, and it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, because the confusion suddenly became clear…
There’s nothing left to say. You describe it all so well. Thank you. Currently stooping that what you so aptly call near-obsessive researching in order to keep understanding — and starting to build myself again.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope that the next part of your journey–building yourself up–is rewarding, fulfilling, and healing. I also hope that the next stage of your life is joyful and leads you to open doors that take you to new opportunities for happiness. Best, MJ
They are MONSTERS. And you basically stole Sheri’s entire article. shame on you.
Thanks for your comment. I didn’t “steal” Sheri Schreiber’s article. Stealing would have been publishing her material as if it were my own. I quoted from her article while citing her as the source and cited the source material (her article) at the bottom of this blog post. I can’t do an effective “in-line” commentary or even discuss this topic appropriately with a blog repost, but I can quote and cite source material while elaborating on themes and motifs. That is not stealing or plagiarizing. I don’t claim that her material is mine. Her intellectual property is not mine. We don’t even agree on everything, but, for the sake of this blog post, it was worth sharing her point of view. Many readers do not click on links provided. So, while I can highly recommend visiting a website, reading a book, or reading an article, it may not happen. What I can do is properly cite material written, share it, and comment on it in hopes that it will direct readers to source material through provided links and inspire further inquiry.