Ostera, my experience is that BPDers will lie when they are cornered -- to escape the shame of admitting a mistake. And they will try to be manipulating -- to control you and thus prevent abandonment. And, as I noted earlier, BPDers tend to be very good actors.
Most of their crazymaking behaviors, however, are as much a mystery to THEM as they are to their partners. I say this because, given their self loathing and the fragility of their self images, BPDers cannot afford the luxury of creating the bulk of their outrageous allegations at the CONSCIOUS level.
Instead, they tend to create those ego defenses at the subconscious level. For an ego defense to work -- i.e., to protect the fragile ego from seeing too much of reality -- it must be created subconsciously, thus allowing the conscious mind to believe it really is true.
Hence, to the extent a BPDer's real self is hidden behind "the curtain," as you say, for the most part it is hidden from HER as well as from you. The main difference, then, is that you have the courage to pull the curtain back while, so far at least, it seems clear she does not.No, you are not the victim. It is a mistake to think that the toxicity in your marriage is something SHE does to you. If that were true, you would be a helpless victim having no control over the situation -- which is far from the truth. Emotionally healthy men do not stay with abusive women like that. After the wonderful honeymoon period ends, they typically walk away within six to twelve months, if not much sooner.
It therefore is more accurate to think of the toxicity as something you BOTH have been doing to each other. The only way a toxic relationship can last three years -- as yours has -- is if both people are willingly contributing to the toxicity. Her contributions to the toxicity (e.g., rages and verbal abuse) are obvious -- yours are less so.
Your main contribution is the way you have been enabling her -- for three years -- to behave like a four year old throwing one tantrum after another -- and getting away with it! As an enabler, you have allowed her to avoid confronting her issues and learning how to manage them. Specifically, you have been trying to be a "soothing object," intending to calm her down. In that way, you have prevented her from recognizing the need to learn how to calm herself down through self-soothing.
Sadly, all that calming you do -- that I did too -- is counter-productive because your very presence in the house serves to trigger her rage and fear of abandonment. That is, as the person who loves her most, you pose the greatest threat of abandonment. This is why she likely does so well with total strangers and casual friends.
Finally, it also would be a mistake to believe -- as books like Emotional Vampires
suggest -- that your W spun a web and then went out hunting for a victim to pull into her trap. Because you've been with her for over three years, you almost certainly are an excessive caregiver (i.e., "codependent") like me. That is, YOU almost certainly were the hunter.
We caregivers will walk right past all the stable, emotionally available women (BORING) until we find a woman who desperately needs us. Indeed, we can spot vulnerability
("catnip" to us) across a crowded room. We do this because our desire to be needed
(for what we can do) far exceeds
our desire to be loved
(for the men we already are). The best explanation of how we got to be that way during childhood is an article by therapist Shari Schreiber DO YOU LOVE TO BE NEEDED, OR NEED TO BE LOVED?