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Ok, I've totally broken down and am now posting on a random forum at 1 am, as I'm sure you can all tell. Its my first post, but I've read the forum from time to time and have really appreciated and applied the sage advice, I really hope I can get a word or two.

Ill keep it simple, Im a 28 year old man, married, unemployed. I have three children, one from a previous relationship who lives with me (us). My wife is 25 and we have two sons; 9 m. and two years. So, five of us living together.

We've been married three years, and our relationship has been on the rocks ever since ever.... Seriously, genuinely, I'm going to try to be completely honest and objective about this, I'm really not just, you know, looking for support-- what I really need right now is brutal honesty.


Anyways the rant; we have very little physical contact, basically there is no outward display of affection on her part and even less emotional support. The physical affection really disappeared towards the beginning of the marriage. We hold hands sometimes in the car and she sits on my lap maybe once or twice a month. This was of course, totally teh opposite before our marriage (we dated for about a year)-- she couldn't keep her hands off of me. One of the most painful things for me though, is the complete lack of emotional support.

I dont get encouragement in any area whatsoever, like never. I don't think I ever have heard a single word of encouragement from her. Maybe its just not her nature? But what really brings the issue out for me, is that I hear so much discouragement and criticism out of her and it really wears me down. Like everything I do gets scrutinized and I constantly get remarks about how badly I am doing something or whats wrong with my personality/habits, etc. These aren't super harsh or anything, but u get the idea, its grating after a few years.

As an example, over the last couple of months, I have totally changed my diet and ramped up the excersize, yoga, and my own general organizational habits, which were never quite that good. I'm in the best shape of my life, literally lost about twenty pounds of fat, I'm 6 feet tall and 170 now, jesus I'm totally ripped, flexible, and I havent heard a word about it from her, like seriously, nothing.

A lot of these changes I think I made as an attempt to maybe bring us closer together, to make her desire me, or at least care/think about me in a positive light. I think it might have worked, but only VERY subtely, lol. Like, she asks me to cuddle her at night, which is nice...


Another thing, is that she is in a negative mood probably 85 percent of the time. She is VERY good with the kids (well, hers, my older son gets basically no attention from her), she is a very focused, intelligent mother and can be VERY affectionate with the kids and I LOVE THAT! But seriously, she is always in a crap mood and CONSTANTLY loses her temper and goes into these fits of whining spasms. (Towards me) Everything is my fault, you know? Its my fault that she's sad. its my fault that we live in a small apartment, etc. I will readily admit that I can f-up as good or better than the rest of them, that a lot of our family issues ARE MINE, but from the beginning of the relationship, I have literally NEVER heard her say "I was wrong." NEVER.... is that normal? She is so hypercritical of other people, extremely, but I've never seen her apply that criticism towards herself?


The sex-- it happens, but only when she is really drunk. This equals out to about 1-3 times a month, never more. When she is sober, forget about it, it would never happen. She either tells me she will have sex with me when I get a job, but usually its, "Oh, I don't like sex anymore," yet she finds the desire somewhere to please herself to super hardcore, anal, choking, stuff like that online...

Turning it on myself, I am a very affectionate, very positive person. We're total opposites, I'm almost always in a good mood. I'm currently unemployed, but am attending school full-time, working towards a degree in elementary education. I was formerly a garbage man. I am extremely versatile, i have a ton of active interests and hobbies and I am an incredibly connected father. My children are my very soul, I spend every second I can with them, and I do at least half of the housework every day, usually more. My parents are helping us with rent, and we have some money saved up. I know, extremely unsexy and whatever, but I have a plan, and I am busy around the clock, I'm a very hard worker. My wife has not had a job since our marriage, because she wants to be hands on mommmy.

I had a substance abuse issue for two years, after a friend died under very traumatic circumstances... Nothing illegal, but it was unhealthy... but I was never emotionally unavailable or irresponsible towards any of my duties as a father. To her, this was a huge breach of trust as I hid it from her... But she has not been sensitive about it at all, and to this day its a huge finger pointing issue..

Damn this is long. Anyways, she does not want to do couples therapy, she is constantly breaking up with me. She told me last week, "its over," because we had a fight over my own incorrect EBAY posting on her account!:scratchhead:

I've always maintained that if she wants to leave, she should go ahead, but that we should be as careful about it as possible, right? I've never been abusive towards her, I've never even lost my temper towards her... I think she mistakes it for lack of passion.. I dont get jealous, etc. But she RAGES, like for the smallest things.

I mean, I dunno, I do love her, I realize that this sounds rather disjointed. Has anyone had any experiences like this? I mean, I am having a hard time describing her good qualities. She does have them. She's very creative intelligent, she's beautiful....

I just don't know if I should move away from this relationship, I cant STAND the thought of living seperately from my two younger boys. I mean, I really dont know what I am doing, should do, Im so miserable..
 

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Go to counseling....even if she doesn't go. Does your school have counseling services?

There is a lot going on. One thing that really jumped out at me is that you said she never apologizes or admits when she's wrong. That, and the fact that she's critical all the time. But the biggest red flag? That she ignores your son. What type of a person does that? It really says something about her character...and not in a positive way.

I would get your own therapy. You made some mistakes in the past, but lots of people do. You sound like you are doing great now. Doesn't your wife realize she can't afford to be a SAHM? She needs to get a job. Tell her this.

You also need to change the power dynamic. Instead of YOU always trying to please her, stop doing that and get a little tougher on her. When she criticizes you for doing something - tell her that she's welcome to do it herself. I would also talk to her about her neglect of your son. Tell her it is getting in the way of your attraction and admiration to her. Your son notices he's being ignored and that is hurtful to him. Don't pretend otherwise.

She feels like she has all the power in the relationship. Maybe now that you are in shape, getting a degree, and trying to better your life, she's putting you down to make herself feel better. Maybe she can only feel good when you are messing up. It makes her feel superior. Just a thought.

I would also google "narcissism" and see if maybe she has a lot of narcissistic qualities. If everything is always about her, she lacks empathy, is into appearances, and can't ever acknowledge or admit her own faults and flaws, she may be a narcissist. If so, she will not change....ever.

If you divorce her, your child support payments will be out of sight. Talk to a lawyer who specializes in family law to get a sense of what your child support and alimony payments would be to your wife. You would probably have to move back in to your parents.

But first things first, get your own therapy, continue to focus on getting a degree and finding a job for now. And get your wife working! The only people I know who can afford to be SAHM have rich husbands.
 

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Wow, there is a lot going on here! I had to go and get a cuppa before I venture into this spagetti. I think that is part of your problem in that you are grouping together a whole lot of separate things and you have to tease out the issues. When you put them all together you think it means something but I think it is just a whole bunch of stuff that is not necessarily related.
You asked for brutally honest, be careful what you wish for....
1. you and your wife are still really young - life is a marathon, things change, kids grow up
2. you have three very young children
3. you don't have a lot of money coming in

The unemployment thing is a problem. I take it, neither of you are working. Is there any way you can go part time at school and get a job on the side to bring in some money. Financial problems in any relationship are a big stressor and this is probably a problem for your wife too. You said that your parents are helping you and that is probably because of #2 above. That is nice of them but it is really not up to them.

The she is not affectionate with my son thing. She is not his mother, and I don't know if his biological mother is involved, you did not say. There is usually a stronger tie for women with their own biological children than step children, that is just the way it is. I would not worry too much about it as long as she is being fair and not emotionally abusive. Don't expect the ties to be the same but that means you have to try to step up with him.

The I'm really buff thing. Well that is nice but ...brutally honest here... it does sound kind of selfish. I appreciate that you are taking care of your physical self, that is good but don't think it means wife should swoon. Right now, probably the financial and child care issues are more important to her....refer back to #2 above.

The I don't get enough sex thing. Brutally honest.....get over it. When there is tension in the relationship women (for the most part) really don't want sex. For lots of women sex is more a mind thing than a body thing.

The she is not emotionally supportive. Well she has a lot on her plate right now and see #3 above. She may feel that she has to be emotionally supportive to 3 kids and she does not want a 4th. Are you emotionally supportive to her? Do you know what she thinks and is feeling?

The she never apologizes or admits that she is wrong thing. My husband is the same way. But when he is wrong I mention it and he knows. Sometimes I make a joke of it and say "yes darling wife I did throw out that paper without asking you I am sorry" or something like that. Maybe some people are just like that.

I don't know that there is anything really wrong with your wife. You have so many other issues going on it is hard to tell. I can't see moving to divorce will help your situation it will just create more problems for you and the kids.
 

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Blacksmith, the behavioral traits you are describing -- verbal abuse, temper tantrums, inappropriate anger, lack of impulse control, constant blaming, always being "the victim," black-white thinking, and a cycle of push-you-away and pull-you-back -- are classic traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), which my exW suffers from. Only a professional can determine whether those traits are so severe as to satisfy all of the diagnostic criteria for having full blown BPD.

Yet, for the purposes of deciding whether to remain married to her, you don't need to know whether her traits surpass the diagnostic threshold. Even when those traits fall well short of that threshold, they can make your life miserable. Moreover, strong BPD traits are easy to identify when occurring in a woman you've been living with for several years. There is nothing subtle or nuanced about behavior such as verbal abuse, temper tantrums, and constant blaming. Indeed, you've already spotted such traits.
She is always in a crap mood and CONSTANTLY loses her temper and goes into these fits of whining spasms. (Towards me) ...She RAGES, like for the smallest things.
BPDers have enormous anger just under the surface, carried from early childhood. Because the anger is already there, you don't have to create it. You only have to say or do some minor thing that triggers a release of the anger that is already there. This is why she can erupt into a rage in only ten seconds. Typically, the rages of a BPDer (i.e., person with strong BPD traits) will last about five hours. A BPDer engages in this childish behavior because, due to genetics and/or childhood abuse or abandonment, her emotional development is stuck at the level of a four year old. The result is that, for three years, you've felt you have always been walking on eggshells to avoid triggering her anger. This is why the best selling BPD book (targeted to partners of BPDers) is called Stop Walking on Eggshells.
Everything is my fault, you know?
Yes, I know. My exW blamed every misfortune on me too. A BPDer has a weak ego and hates herself. Hence, the last thing she wants to find is another item to add to the long list of things she hates about herself. She therefore will avoid the tremendous feeling of shame by projecting all her mistakes and bad thoughts onto you. In that way, you serve as a "trashcan" in which she can dispose of all her guilt and shame. Moreover. as long as she has you around to be the "perpetrator," she is able to validate her false self image of being "the victim," always the victim.
She is so hypercritical of other people, extremely, but I've never seen her apply that criticism towards herself.
This is called "black-white thinking." It is evident when she categorizes everyone as "all good" or "all bad." This behavior is one of the hallmarks of a BPDer. She does it because she finds it extremely uncomfortable to tolerate ambiguities and gray areas. That is, she is intolerant of the notion that someone is "an essentially good man who sometimes does bad things." This is why, when a person commits a minor infraction or says something bothersome, a BPDer will recategorize him -- in ten seconds -- from one polar extreme to another. The result is that a BPDer will flip back and forth between adoring her spouse (i.e., splitting him white) to devaluing him (i.e., splitting him black).
she is constantly breaking up with me.
Another hallmark of BPDers is the push-you-away and pull-you-back cycle. It is caused by a BPDer's twin fears of engulfment (from intimacy) and abandonment -- as I explain in the thread mentioned below. Also, a BPDer HATES to be by herself because she has a strong need to be around a stable man who will center and ground her. Hence, she often will keep pulling him back into the relationship after pushing him away. This is why the second-best-selling BPD book is called I Hate You, Don't Leave Me!
she does not want to do couples therapy
High functioning BPDers generally are loath to seek therapy. One reason, as I mentioned, is the last thing they want to find is one more flaw to hate about themselves. Another is that they usually are unable to trust anyone, including the therapist. In any event, if your W has strong BPD traits, she likely will need several years of individual counseling from a clinical psychologist before MC would be useful. And the IC is no guarantee of success. Very few BPDers will remain in therapy long enough to make a difference in their behavior. And, even when you insist on therapy, it will do no good if the BPDer does not want to work on her issues. I learned that the hard way. I spent over $200,000 on weekly therapy sessions for 15 years (with 6 psychologists and 2 MCs), all to no avail.
We've been married three years, and our relationship has been on the rocks ever since ever....
You were fortunate that the honeymoon period lasted a year. It rarely exceeds six months. During that period, her infatuation convinces her that you are the perfect man -- thus holding her two fears (engulfment and abandonment) at bay.

When the infatuation evaporates, those two fears return, causing your innocent actions and comments to trigger one fear or the other -- resulting in hissy fits and temper tantrums. Incidentally, this absence of the two fears also explains why your W gets along fine with casual friends and complete strangers. Those folks pose no threat whatsoever because there is no close LTR that can be abandoned -- and no intimacy that can cause engulfment and suffocation. Lord help them, though, if they decide to draw close and try to be a close long term friend.
The physical affection really disappeared towards the beginning of the marriage. ... This was of course, totally the opposite before our marriage (we dated for about a year)-- she couldn't keep her hands off of me.
Like I said, if your W has strong BPD traits, she was fearless with respect to you during the infatuation period. On top of that, she has such a dread of living alone that she had a powerful incentive to contain her anger until the two of you were married.
I mean, I dunno, I do love her, I realize that this sounds rather disjointed. Has anyone had any experiences like this? I mean, I am having a hard time describing her good qualities. She does have them. She's very creative intelligent, she's beautiful....
Well, let me give it a try. Could the attraction have been her mirroring your personality so perfectly that the two of you were convinced you had met your soul mate? Could it have been the most passionate and greatest sexual experience of your lifetime? Could it have been that childlike quality that gives her a warmth and purity of expression that is unmatched by any other woman you ever dated? Certainly, all three of those things were true during my first year with my exW. Until other men have dated BPDers, they cannot imagine why the attraction is so big that we are willing to spend a year or two trying to reestablish the blissful conditions of the honeymoon period. Indeed, I communicated with many "Nons" who say they may have great difficulty "settling" for a an emotionally available, stable woman after having fallen in love with a BPDer. Simply stated, a BPDer is very, VERY good when she is splitting you white.
I just don't know if I should move away from this relationship, I cant STAND the thought of living separately from my two younger boys. I mean, I really dont know what I am doing, should do, Im so miserable..
Of course, you should do what is in the best interests of your children. But you don't have to make that decision today. If this discussion has rung a bell, I suggest that you start by reading more about BPD traits to see if most of them are strongly present in your W's behavior. On this forum, I provide an overview of what it's like to live with a typical BPDer in GTRR's thread. My several posts there start at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/anxiet...depressed-its-always-my-fault.html#post188319. If that discussion sounds familiar and you have any questions about BPD traits, I would be glad to try to answer them or point you to an online resource that can. Finally, if you decide to obtain a professional opinion, I suggest that you see a clinical psychologist for a session or two -- on your own. Without your W being there, the psych is much more likely to speak candidly about her likely issues if BPD traits are involved. Take care, Blacksmith.
 

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Others can help ypi to take charge of your marriage so i wont try. I will try to explain why she may being so criticle of you. I think i recognize what she is thinking because i made tge sane mistakes when i first got engaged to my husband. Somehow I got the notion that since we were getting married, that he should be more sensitive and talk to me about everything and do all tge things husbands do in romantic pulp, movies and TV.

He did not measure up in my eyes. That lasted for about a month until he made it clear he was nit having it. He very nicely told me that he would nit tolerate that from me because he had no intention of doing the same to me. He said it looked in my eyes and went back to doing what he was doing. I am certain I slipped up mire times but he was consistent and nipped it in the bud right away. .

I have read that the male and female brain are duffernt and we tgerefore dont think the same mist men simply can not stop thinking and acting like a man. They can adjust somewhat to accommodate their wives but there is apparently not much leeway. Some women feel justified in pointing out all of their husbands faults relative to how different men think and function. We women expect you men to think like us, react to life events like us.

Niether men nor women know enough about our differences.. If we did, relationships would be much happier. In my quest to keep improving the quality of my relationship, I read everything that I think will help. I recently read a book The Male Brain by a neuroscientist.

It might help you to read it to help you understand yourself and to guide your wife good luck
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Blacksmith, the behavioral traits you are describing -- verbal abuse, temper tantrums, inappropriate anger, lack of impulse control, constant blaming, always being "the victim," black-white thinking, and a cycle of push-you-away and pull-you-back -- are classic traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), which my exW suffers from. Only a professional can determine whether those traits are so severe as to satisfy all of the diagnostic criteria for having full blown BPD.

I don't want to comment on Uptown and his ex wife but I would like to caution about jumping into a Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis. As Uptown says we can't determine this. I think it is alway tempting to lable a troublesome person's behaviour with a mental health diagnosis even when one does not exist. Again I am not talking about Uptown's ex because it may be completely true. Also the magnitude of living in a relationship with a BPD may make those around her hyper sensitive to seeing those traits in many other people. Particularly in Borderlines if you read the DSM description you can identify it in many people you know. I certainly could apply it to many people I worked with:rolleyes: but a clinician, psychiatrist, psychiatric therapist, will be able to identify the degree to which those behaviours are Borderline or just dysfunctional behaviours.

Also we are just getting one side of the story so we don't know what is missing, or how his behaviour contributed to this.
For the OP I would suggest talking to others that know your wife very well and are close to them. Do they see these patterns in her behaviour? What is their take on the relationship? If she is a Borderline, then those around her will have noticed these traits too.
 

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I would like to caution about jumping into a Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis. ....I think it is alway tempting to lable a troublesome person's behaviour with a mental health diagnosis even when one does not exist.
Antheia, we both agree that Blacksmith is not capable of diagnosing BPD. At issue, then, is whether he is sufficiently intelligent to spot strong occurrences of BPD traits in a woman he's been living with for three years. I believe he is. Indeed, I believe he would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to spot such traits. There is nothing subtle about traits such as frequent verbal abuse, blaming, rages, and refusal to take responsibility for one's own actions.

Before graduating from high school, Blacksmith already could spot girls who were too selfish and grandiose to be good marriage candidates -- without trying to diagnose Narcissistic PD. He could spot girls who were extremely shy and withdrawn -- without having to diagnose Avoidant PD. He also could spot the class drama queens -- without diagnosing Histrionic PD. And he could identify the classmates having little respect for social customs and laws -- without diagnosing Antisocial PD. Likewise, he should be capable of spotting the red flags for having strong BPD traits. Indeed, I believe that nearly all adults are capable of spotting those red flags if they will take a little time to read about them.
For the OP, I would suggest talking to others that know your wife very well and are close to them. Do they see these patterns in her behaviour? What is their take on the relationship? If she is a Borderline, then those around her will have noticed these traits too.
I agree. A reality check is prudent.
 

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Wow! this is just mind-boggling...

Well, like Antheia says, I don't want to subjectively decide on whether or not my wife does suffer from BPD, I'm not sure if that would be fair to her, and especially as I'm not qualified whatsoever, but jesus Uptown, the way you described her right down to the marrow... my god, its frightening.

I would at least be comfortable with considering that she may have some sort of a borderline borderline thing?.. If that makes sense and is in the manual somewhere, err. :scratchhead: I mean, the best I can do is gain some sort of understanding of the mechanism behind BPD, myself, as she would probably never be seen by a profesional (not that we could afford it, of course).


For the OP, I would suggest talking to others that know your wife very well and are close to them. Do they see these patterns in her behaviour? What is their take on the relationship? If she is a Borderline, then those around her will have noticed these traits too.
Ok guys, well here is the difficult part about this; my wife literally has no friends. She does have friends, I mean, we met through friends, jesus, but she has no friends whom she talks to on any regular basis, or (seems) to be emotionally bonded to. I mean, she is literally close to NO ONE except for me, her kids and her Mom... But she is socially aware, I mean, she can hold a conversation, but there is literally no one from her past that she keeps in touch with, or that I've heard her speak kindly or endearingly of. Is that in line with BPD?

So, I haven't had a chance to meet anyone who "knows" her and to talk about her. One thing that sticks out in my mind, was the first time I met her parents, we went camping with them for a night, and her mom, dad and brother each took turns telling me that she was THE MOST negative person that they knew. That would have thrown me off, but they are Brazilians, and they each gave me that winning smile when they told me this :smthumbup:, so I just brushed it off, like thought it was just her sarcasm they were referring to. I know that doesn't prove anything either way, but its all I got for now!


Could the attraction have been her mirroring your personality so perfectly that the two of you were convinced you had met your soul mate? Could it have been the most passionate and greatest sexual experience of your lifetime? Could it have been that childlike quality that gives her a warmth and purity of expression that is unmatched by any other woman you ever dated?
This exactly describes it, dude.... Unquestionably, best sex ever, though I could never explain it... The soul-mate phrase came in to play A LOT. jeeze, childlike as hell, I thought it was so hot, she would want to play cops and robbers and jump over the couches and stuff, so refreshing from what I was used to...



I sort of wonder if this is related to some of her childhood issues; she told me her father was a very jealous dude, that she HATED him, that she even actually prayed to satan a few times that he would die? I know, it sounds weird and he seems like such a nice guy in real life, too (her parents are still married, and happily or so it seems). But I guess, he went in to rages where he would just tear apart the house when he suspected her mother of cheating on him, even going as far as accusing her of cheating on him with her brothers and her son (my wife's little- i think 6 yo- brother at the time).

So, she REALLY hated him, as well, her mother was a jehovahs witness, EXTREMELY overprotective, and she was never allowed to sleep over at other children's houses, or even hang out after school (awful). Also disconcerting is she used to tell me that she would wake up in the middle of the night on almost a daily basis, and think that I was her father. Again, I never really thought much of it, just that it was some weird psychological left-overs.

Anyways UPTOWN- so I have read a bit up on BPD criteria and the only thing that seems out of place is the self-esteem issues... She told me that most of her life, up until 18 or 19 or so, she was too shy to even hold a conversation, but she always projects that she is confident. I mean, she never shows insecurity, (I mean, she has never verbally expressed this) I just was always under the impression that she is shy and slightly anxious...? That doesnt really seem to fit, right?


The I'm really buff thing. Well that is nice but ...brutally honest here... it does sound kind of selfish. I appreciate that you are taking care of your physical self, that is good but don't think it means wife should swoon. Right now, probably the financial and child care issues are more important to her....refer back to #2 above.
Yea, it is a bit selfish, no lie. That's always a bit of a problem for me, is understanding that line between being appropriately selfish and appropriately selfless. I do have a vein that runs deep inside that is a purpose to serve and empower others. Its definitely my greatest joy, and I try to reflect that as much as possible...

but on the other hand, I was also brought up in an environment where i was taught never to be selfish, that it is sin, and constantly put others' needs in front of my own. I kept this attitude into my adult years, constantly concerning myself with others state of well-being, and eventually it became a SERIOUS vice and I had very little personal power or self-worth (I got a near perfect score on my SAT/ACT and never felt I could do anything past picking up garbage, a bit metaphorical) Not that I have anything against garbage men, one of the most important jobs there is... So the drug issues and so forth.

So I have this need to have some space and influence, its like, imperitive to me, I dont know how else to explain it, but if I dont have some me time, everyone in the family is going to suffer for it, you know? I know it sort of sounds like a cop-out, but I was more referring to how it was weird that she hasn't mention ed ANYTHING, much less swoon at me. I mean, she hasn't even been like, Wow, you need new pants now, or hey you look a little bit different?

Wow,. im still going, ill stop now. Thanks SO MUCH guys for reading and sharing, definitely AMAZING to be able to let this off of my chest!
 

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Blacksmith, I'm pleased to hear you found the BPD information so helpful.
I don't want to subjectively decide on whether or not my wife does suffer from BPD, I'm not sure if that would be fair to her.... I would at least be comfortable with considering that she may have some sort of a borderline borderline thing?
What you can say -- with a certainty -- is that your W has BPD traits. We all do. All of us occasionally exhibit all nine of the BPD traits. At issue, then, is not whether your W has these traits but, rather, whether she exhibits most of them at a strong level. Having BPD traits is a problem only when they are strong enough to undermine a person's ability to sustain LTRs with loved ones and close friends.

Moreover, the nine BPD traits do not constitute an identifiable disease. Instead, they are only a set of symptoms that are commonly seen together. Nobody yet knows whether they can be caused by a dozen different diseases or, rather, can be caused by a single disease giving rise to all personality disorders. Hence, these traits are only symptoms like a headache, fever, faintness, and ankle pain. If you go to a hundred forums dedicated to medical issues, you will find thousands of folks talking all day long about their symptoms. Indeed, when you go to see a medical doctor, the first thing he will say will be "Tell me what your symptoms are."

Your therefore should feel free to talk as much as you want about your W's BPD behavioral traits, which are only symptoms. Indeed, it would be impossible for you to have an intelligent discussion about her behavior without considering these traits. And, as I noted earlier, it is easy to identify strong occurrences of such traits because you yourself have all nine of them -- albeit at a lower, normal level.

Hence, if your description of your W is accurate, you can confidently say she "has strong BPD traits." I have already suggested a number of them that seem pertinent but, because you know the woman a thousand times better than anyone, you are in the best position to judge which traits are stronger than normal. This is why I've encouraged you to read about the nine traits and decide for yourself.

What you cannot do is identify the disease causing her dysfunctional behavior. As I explained, even the psychologists cannot do that. A second thing you cannot do is to know what type of treatment she needs for healing. And a third thing you cannot do is to determine whether her traits are so severe as to meet the diagnostic criteria for declaring that she "has BPD," i.e., has full-blown BPD.

Yet, for your purposes of deciding whether to stay with her, it is highly unlikely such a diagnosis would be useful. For, one thing, a woman whose traits satisfy only half of the diagnostic threshold (thus, "not having BPD") may make your life miserable if you try to live with her. For another thing, it is unlikely that you or your W will be told that she has BPD even if that is the case. As I've explained in other threads, therapists are loath to tell a high functioning BPDer her true diagnosis -- essentially, to protect her and avoid insurance problems. This is why you likely should not tell her you suspect she has strong BPD traits. It is better to let the therapist decide whether she will benefit from being told.
My wife literally has no friends.... there is literally no one from her past that she keeps in touch with, or that I've heard her speak kindly or endearingly of. Is that in line with BPD?
Typically, a BPDer (person with strong traits) does not have any long-term close friends because she has pushed them away. A BPDer usually does well with casual friends, however, because those folks are unable to trigger either of the BPDer's two great fears. They cannot trigger the abandonment fear because there is no close relationship to abandon. And they cannot trigger the engulfment fear because there is no intimacy to create the feeling of engulfment. So, no, her total lack of interest in past casual friends is not a basic trait of BPD to my knowledge.

It nonetheless is very common for many BPDers to also have problems with "object constancy," i.e., feeling that someone is still an important part of their lives when they are out of sight. This is one of those "also may have traits" that is often listed but which is not a basic trait on the DSM-IV list. It is listed as a "miscellaneous trait," for example, at this site: Borderline Personality Disorder.
Her mom, dad and brother each took turns telling me that she was THE MOST negative person that they knew.
Because BPDers have difficulty regulating their emotions, it is not surprising that it is common for them to suffer from depression and have a negative attitude. Moreover, because they like to think of themselves as perpetual "victims," they may talk a lot about the "glass half empty" as a way of validating their false self image of being the victim, always the victim.
[Her father] seems like such a nice guy in real life, too ... but I guess, he went in to rages where he would just tear apart the house when he suspected her mother of cheating on him, even going as far as accusing her of cheating on him with her brothers and her son.
As I said above, strangers and casual friends usually cannot trigger the anger of high functioning BPDers because they pose no threat of engulfment or abandonment. This is why it is common to a BPDer treat business associates and strangers with caring and generosity -- and then go home to abuse the very people who love her. It therefore is not surprising that her father came off as such a nice guy to you. It also is not surprising that he was always so suspicious of his W (because BPDers usually are incapable of trusting anyone for an extended period). What I'm saying, then, is that I would not be surprised if your W received a genetic predisposition to having an emotional disorder from her dad, given his behavior.
The only thing that seems out of place is the self-esteem issues... she always projects that she is confident. I mean, she never shows insecurity ... That doesn't really seem to fit, right?
I believe it does fit. You mention that she is "negative about 85% of the time." Being negative so much is a sign of a person who believes she is always a victim. This is a person who argues to create drama, not to find solutions. It therefore is not a sign of confidence but, rather, low self esteem. You also say she often "does fits of whining." Again, this is a sign of being a victim and "poor little me."

You also mention she is "hypercritical of other people." Confident people don't feel the need to constantly be putting other people down. A woman who feels good about herself will not do that. You further state that she is "always blaming everything on me." Again, this is a strong sign she dislikes herself so much that the last thing she wants to do is find one more thing to add to the long list of things she hates about herself. By projecting all misfortunes and flaws onto you, she is able to escape the deep shame she has been carrying since early childhood. Projection works so wonderfully well to protect her fragile ego because it works at the subconscious level, allowing her conscious mind to actually believe you were responsible for all those problems -- and validating her belief that she is a victim.

I should also mention that high functioning BPDers generally are excellent actors and thus can put up a very convincing front. If your W ever calls the police on you and has you arrested on a bogus charge -- as my exW did to me -- you will find out what I mean. BPDers are good actors because they have no strong, stable self image to guide them on how to behave around strangers. Hence, since childhood, they have been figuring out how they are expected to behave and then acting in that manner. This is usually not done to be manipulating but, rather, to simply fit in and find acceptance. This is why a BPDer will often behave very differently around different sets of people.

Finally, Blacksmith, if you found my discussion in GTRR's thread helpful, you may also benefit from my comments in EagleClaw's thread at Longtime lurker - typical wife problems. and in Gladiator's thread at Angry, Unhappy, Violent, Depressed Wife!. I also suggest that you start participating (or lurking, at least) at BPDfamily.com, the most active BPD forum I've found that is targeted only to spouses and partners like you. It has eight message boards. The two of greatest interest likely will be the "Leaving" and "Raising a Child when One Parent Has BPD" boards. That information likely will be helpful regardless of whether your W "has full blown BPD" or only "has strong BPD traits."
 

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Before one goes to psyching their mate I always think it is a good idea to see if there are real life problems that could have some resolution.
I am 199 percent sure, my husband would describe me as "crazy" for not thinking everything he does or did is absolutely wonderful, without question, no matter how that affects me, this wonderful all about him world suits him just fine, so hey, what is the problem?
The reality is there are often problems that Really do have a solution if one were to lean toward the middle a bit in most marriages. However it only takes ONE to keep the status quo, this is kind crazy making.
While you wife may or may not have a personality disorder big time, that is hard for me to see as just inherent to her, when in reality some of what is between the lines here seem obvious.
1. You live with your parents
2. You have no job (hers right now is the kids)
3. Seems like you spend all you time wanting sex and getting buff
4. You spend all your time getting buff, and not with your own son.
5. You live in a small apartment with your parents, or hers I forgot which an ALSO five other people
What do ya mean the problem is her?
Where is your responsibility?

Your expectations far out weigh your contributions.
 

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I forgot to add the substance abuse problem that was yours.
Ok so what is it you wanted her to be supportive of?
While these efforts on your part to undo the obvious negatives to making anyone happy are commendable and maybe she should give you some encouragement, there is a long way to go to really change the circumstances and deal with all those negatives.
Maybe she feels too much rewards or praise will just make you think all is ok, and you will stop trying to get ya'll maritially healthy in ALL issues, you gotta maybe see yourself in her eyes and from her perspective. Right now she probably thinks you are being vain, and uninvolved, and unmotivated.
Effort is fine but people appreaciate results a lot more.
 

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I forgot to add the substance abuse problem that was yours.
Ok so what is it you wanted her to be supportive of?
While these efforts on your part to undo the obvious negatives to making anyone happy are commendable and maybe she should give you some encouragement, there is a long way to go to really change the circumstances and deal with all those negatives.
Maybe she feels too much rewards or praise will just make you think all is ok, and you will stop trying to get ya'll maritially healthy in ALL issues, you gotta maybe see yourself in her eyes and from her perspective. Right now she probably thinks you are being vain, and uninvolved, and unmotivated.
Effort is fine but people appreaciate results a lot more.
 

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mitzy, Blacksmith made 3 post almost 2 years ago and hasn't been back.....
 
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