After reading Elizabeth's story I was
really overwhelmed with a desire to share more details of my story. I
think I have two reason's to do this, maybe three. 1. To help others
who are in these relationships, 2. To try and bring some
"closure" to my own relationship with an abuser. 3. Hopefully to
prevent me from getting into another one of these types of relationships.
If you were in better shape, you would have listed
the "closure" (No. 2) reason and the "prevention" (
No. 3) reasons first and second. How codependent to
think of helping others first! Time to get self-caring!
I'm not a calendar keeper (physically or mentally). I cannot recall the
exact time line of my descent into this hell hole. I originally thought
the good time lasted one year, but being realistic and checking some key
points in our relationship, it probably only lasted 6 months. The balance
of the eight and a half years involved my descent into hell and my
struggle to climb out.
When I met my wife, Mary, we hopped
into bed on the second date. I barely knew her, but she was an aggressive
seductress, and I willingly gave in. This is why it
makes sense to keep sex out of the picture for a (long) while; clouds
judgment! Also, unscrupulous women often use sex as a means of
control. Kind of like taking candy from a baby; no resistance. I
was single, 48, living and working on my own small farm, owned a
construction business, and did consulting. My handicapped child lived with
Mary was still legally married, but her husband had moved out (I now
understand why). She had four children, was very attractive,
intellectually gifted, out going, friendly, and aggressive. She came into
my life, straightened out my house, took care of my paper work, cooked
great meals, spent quality time with the children, and dragged me into the
bedroom if I even thought I was up to it. (She could read my mind
or smell the pheromones - whatever.)
Gradually the paper work was let go, the kitchen became messier and
messier, she spent more and more time in bed, the laundry was not done.
This happened in small, incremental stages. We started squabbling. I
can't recall all the squabbles, but it got to the point where I wanted
out. I did not like this constant squabbling. While we worked on our
problems, it did not help. Her anger would explode unexpectedly, and I
would react. Good for you for getting away from a
lady too sick to be a partner, but stop reacting
for your own sake!
Finally, I said "Enough!"
But, she begged and pleaded and used the kids as a weapon. "You
can't leave! You are the kids' father; they don't even know their real
father; you will destroy the kids, please - let's stay together and work
Then I committed the most heinous crime that can be committed against a
person with this mental/emotional dysfunction: my sexual desire
diminished. It seemed when she wanted
sex (I'm going to stop using the words, "make love," because it
appears sex was what she wanted and needed), which was constant and
unrelenting, I would have flash-backs to her abuse and neglect. Love-making is one of the first things to go with
conflict, and one of the last to return when the relationship improves. This whole thing became a vicious circle. Yes. The more disinterested in sex I was, the worse
she became. Clearly Mary was either a sex-addict,
and/or used sex as a means of control. Either way, you frustrated her.
I did not understand this cycle. Of
course, I was to blame - and in fact accepted the blame and became very
confused and depressed. She got pregnant. When I look back at this, I see
that it was not an accident. During her pregnancy and after our son was
born, she sank deeper into her pit. The house was a mess, the kids were
bashed around, no laundry, little cooking. I did all the shopping, cleaned
the house as best I could, became the primary caretaker of the kids.
Her demands for sex were
unrelenting, and she became very abusive. She is
probably sex-addicted, that is, sex made her forget her pain and helped
her feel taken care of. Suicide, suicide, suicide threats, morning
noon and night. Several attempts. Oh boy...
Constant ideation about suicide. I dragged her to multiple counselors. Our
house was raided by the DHS. We went to family counseling. I finally saw
how the fighting and loud voices hurt the kids YES! and
I resolved to stop it Good. I also took a
serious look at my wife's accusation that I had an evil twin and that I
howled at the moon. ("Moon-cycle dysfunction".)
Now I could finally see what was going on. There was a moon-cycle
dysfunction, but it was my wife who would periodically erupt, not me. Horrible, horrible PMS? When she did I would do
battle with her. I was to blame for the fighting because I would defend
myself, or, even worse, try and put some logic or reason into the
arguments. Or, The Worst, prove she was wrong!
Then I committed the second serious, heinous crime: I stopped fighting
with her. Good for you. This really unleashed
what I can only describe as demonic behavior. She became so angry that her
eyes would fully dilate into a blank stare, she spewed forth unbelievable
foul and obscene language, constant blame, judging, criticism, suicidal
threats. My daughter had to go live elsewhere, and two of her children
went to live with their father. Mary is a sick lady.
She is not capable of being a partner from what you describe.
Writing about this is very painful.
I'll take a break here and try to put some perspective into this. From my
understanding, Mary has, without question, what is referred to as "Borderline Personality Disorder." Prior to reading
about this I tried to label it as Bipolar, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive
Disorder), demonic possession, whatever came down the pike. The possession part is out of
my field of expertise, but one can have a personality disorder with other
disorders superimposed. My attempts to look at this behavior as
demonic possession were futile. When she was in a rage, there were no
morals, no concept of religion or God, no sense of responsibility to the
children, no right or wrong, no logic or reason, just absolute and
outright destruction, rage, hatred, and anger in its worst form. The BPD
makes it sound so simple: she needs, wants, and demands unrealistic
attention and will do anything at all to get her way, any way she can
without concept of _________ (you fill in the blank.)
Ignorance is bliss? I felt my life
was completely shattered when I was diagnosed with ADD. I saw myself
defined in writing, black & white. The years of unending change, the
amazing diversity and experiences, the thousands of unfinished events. The
WHYs that were answered. With this knowledge I have become aware of my
actions, but still seem powerless to change. Take this type of man and mix
him with a women who meets every criteria for BPD...
There is not one place I visited on the WWW that discusses BPD where I
have not seen my wife in almost every word, every description. "Borderers,"
those that acknowledge they are BPD, who write about their experience, are
telling my wife's story. I know her story. She has told it to me in
verbally and in writing. She has begged for understanding and acceptance
and forgiveness. I could not give her forgiveness because her violence and
abuse has filled my mind and destroyed any chance of my wanting to help
her. When she was asked to leave our home of 9 years by a sheriff deputy,
I felt unbelievable relief. My son and I were at last
"safe" from the uninvited beast who unexpectedly assaulted us.
Unbeknownst to me, the emotional attachment was still there. When
my attractive, beguiling wife found another "victim" I was torn
I have one more quest. I have to
know the WHYs of her problem, is that possible? -Formerly Abused Husband
By WHYs, if you
mean how she got to where she is, the best answer I can give you is
nature/nurture - 50/50 best guess. At this stage of the game, we believe
that individuals are predisposed genetically to personality disorders -
just as they are to schizophrenia, OCD, depression, bipolar
writers in particular are best at describing the etiology and phenomenology
of BPD. They posit that Borderline Personality (and related personality
disorders) are the result of impaired "object relations," i.e.,
the ability to connect with another human being, based on early childhood
experience. If you want to take a look at graduate-level material, check
out Margaret Mahler's et al. classic, The
Psychological Birth of Human Infant: Symbiosis and Individual. While
not specific to BPD, this research-based textbook shows how early
parenting contributes to adult interpersonal relatedness.
From a cognitive-behavioral
perspective, Marsha Linehan's Skills
Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder (Diagnosis
and Treatment of Mental Disorders) is excellent. This academically
well-known and well-respected clinician-researcher's book focuses more on treatment than
etiology, but educates the reader to the tasks the BPD-afflicted
individual faces. No psychobabble.
self-help/lay perspective, I
Hate You, Don't Leave Me by Kriesman et al. will help you understand
the disorder and how to cope if you have a BPD-afflicted loved one. Ditto
Walking on Eggshells; Coping When Someone You Love Has PBD by Mason et
Also, here are some BPD links contributed by a reader.
Borderline Personality Disorder if you wish. Knowledge is power. But,
don't discount your own codependent inability to focus inside and take
care of yourself first. You need to do this. If you don't care
for yourself, nobody else will.
My very best
wishes, Dr. Irene
See why one person doesn't think Dr.
Irene did her homework!