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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am new here, and looking for some insights, and advice. Recently my wife, and I have seperated. We have been together about 5 1/2 years but only married for 2 1/2. This is our second seperation, as we were seperated about eight months into the marriage.

It has always been a volatile relationship, and I suspect she is bi-polar or has Borderline Personality disorder. She has horrible mood swings and shows great anger and rage for me. It often comes out of nowhere. She also suffers from long bouts of depression. When things are very good they're great, but it seems a cycle comes around and it gets really ugly. Friends of mine have been distanced from me due to my wife's behavior. The anger just seems to bubble up, and she says really, really mean, and nasty things, mostly to me.

Why do I still want to be with her if she's so angry? Well, as I said when it is good, it is very good. I try to cut her some slack because her Dad committed suicide when she was around 14 years old. She likes older men, and I am 18 years her senior, so I think she may rage at me as if raging at her father for not being there, but I am no phsycologist.

Anyway, she moved out of our home last week, and says she's renting a room in the area. She left most of her stuff in the house. I don't know if I want to reconcile again or not. I am just so torn. I care about her, but I don't want to potentially get brought down by her although I will owe her a lot of money in a divorce if that occurs.

By the way, I know it's not all her fault, as I am not perfect, but have always been faithful to her, and support her financially 100% as she doesn't work. I just don't know what to do, and she won't go to councelling, or get help for her anger issues.

Thanks.
 

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I can advise you about bipolar & hopefully Uptown will chime in with info about BPD.

Bipolar runs rampant in families. Her father may have been bipolar & committed suicide during his depression cycle. Only a trained doctor can dx her but I understand she will not go. If she ever goes to the doctor, there are good medications to stabilize her moods.

On an average, people with bipolar disorder go about 10 year without seeing a doctor. They know something is "off" but are in denial & blame others. Usually their life falls apart before they seek treatment.

Because you can't "fix" her, the best you can do is set up your own boundaries. Now that you are separated, it will be easier. Once she starts raging at you, simply tell her that is not acceptable to you & hang up the phone or walk away from her.

Has she threatened suicide?
 

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If she won't go to counseling or get medical help, it's no longer your problem to solve. It's not fair to you to live like this when the other person isn't interested in helping herself.

I'd give her a choice... either get help or move the separation into divorce and hopefully she will choose help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Has she threatened suicide?
Well she often brings up suicide saying "you're going to make me put a bullet in my head" and statements like that, but never actually saying she is going to do it.

She is very materialistic and very entitled with the money I earn. Often buying large amounts of expensive clothing, and was obsessed with getting a luxury car, which of course I bought her. She also loves attention, and seems to want to be worshipped.

She is young, beautiful, got breast implants at 21, and flaunts her looks. She also get histrionic at times going on horrible tirades about me.

Thanks for your informative response.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Little bit of an udpate. We seperated a week ago, and as usual she needs to go silent for a while. We've been barely communicating, and occassional text or very brief phone call. Anyway, out of the blue yesterday she calls me and wants to come over to get a few things. Her demeanor is very different, and is very pleasant. We chatted in our home for a while then went out to dinner, and had a very nice evening.

We kept our conversation light and friendly, and didn't get into anything serious about our relationship. We just had an enjoyable evening.

This seems to be a pattern over are relationship. She gets really, really angry, and frustrated with me, it builds up to the point that we seperate, she goes silent for a few days or a week, then comes back being nice, and friendly. Is this a sign of BPD or Bi-Polar?

This doesn't mean we are getting back together, but if it is the same pattern as before, eventually we will.
 

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Little bit of an udpate. We seperated a week ago, and as usual she needs to go silent for a while. We've been barely communicating, and occassional text or very brief phone call. Anyway, out of the blue yesterday she calls me and wants to come over to get a few things. Her demeanor is very different, and is very pleasant. We chatted in our home for a while then went out to dinner, and had a very nice evening.

We kept our conversation light and friendly, and didn't get into anything serious about our relationship. We just had an enjoyable evening.

This seems to be a pattern over are relationship. She gets really, really angry, and frustrated with me, it builds up to the point that we seperate, she goes silent for a few days or a week, then comes back being nice, and friendly. Is this a sign of BPD or Bi-Polar?

This doesn't mean we are getting back together, but if it is the same pattern as before, eventually we will.
Extreme mood swings are a symptom of bipolar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Extreme mood swings are a symptom of bipolar.
I have been reading up here and elsewhere on Bi-Polar and Borderline, and I think she displays more of the symptoms of Borderline which may come from her father committing suicide at a formative age for her as she was around 14 years old. However, I am no psych professional.

We have cycled to frustration and seperation even before we were married. Breaking up, then getting back together. Her rages would scare me, and I'd argue back, and stand up to her, and then a week or so goes by, and we'd reconcile as her sweet side would show up again.
 

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Traveller, welcome to the TAM forum. I agree with what has been said so far. Specifically, I agree with everything Emerald said about bipolar. I also agree with Chris that it is important you allow your W to suffer the logical consequences of her own bad choices. As Chris advised, it is pointless -- indeed, HARMFUL to the both of you -- for you to hang around if she chooses not to seek therapy and stay in it for several years at least.
I have been reading up here and elsewhere on Bi-Polar and Borderline, and I think she displays more of the symptoms of Borderline.
Traveller, I agree with you that the behaviors you describe sound closer to BPD than bipolar. And, of course, she could have both. About 40% of BPDers (i.e., those having strong BPD traits) also have bipolar. I am not a psychologist but I did live with a BPDer exW and bipolar foster son for more than 15 years. Based on those experiences, I identify a dozen differences between typical BPD and bipolar traits in my post at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/anxiety-depression-relationships/59344-confused.html#post1175425.
She has horrible mood swings and shows great anger and rage for me. It often comes out of nowhere.
At the link above, my post describes how temper tantrums and rages that "come out of nowhere" are NOT really mood swings. Rather, they are event-triggered mood changes that happen so rapidly -- often in ten seconds -- that I call them "mood flips." It will seem like the BPDer has thrown a switch in her mind. In contrast, bipolar mood swings typically take two weeks to develop and last for another two weeks -- because they are caused by gradual changes in body chemistry. Of course, if your W suffers from both disorders, you should be seeing both gradual changes and event-triggered flips.
This seems to be a pattern over are relationship. She gets really, really angry, and frustrated with me, it builds up to the point that we separate, she goes silent for a few days or a week, then comes back being nice, and friendly. Is this a sign of BPD or Bi-Polar?
If you follow the link I gave above, you will find that I believe extreme anger is far more characteristic of BPDers. Although bipolar sufferers can get obnoxious and angry -- particularly in the manic phase -- it typically does not rise to the level of a BPDer's anger. Because BPD is a thought distortion, the BPDer's perception of you, while "splitting you black," can be so negative that you will be viewed as Hitler incarnate -- and treated accordingly.

On top of that, a BPDer is filled with enormous anger and shame that has been carried inside since early childhood. This type of anger -- which is carried from childhood -- is NOT a characteristic of bipolar sufferers.

Moreover, the push-you-away and pull-you-back cycle is a hallmark of having strong BPD traits. That cycle arises from the BPDers two great fears: abandonment and engulfment. I explain the current theory of how that works -- and also describe the typical BPD traits -- in Maybe's thread at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/general-relationship-discussion/33734-my-list-hell.html#post473522. If that description rings many bells, I would be glad to discuss them with you and point you to excellent online resources. Take care, Traveller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Traveller, welcome to the TAM forum.
Thank you sir, I have learned a lot from being here.

Traveller, I agree with you that the behaviors you describe sound closer to BPD than bipolar. And, of course, she could have both. About 40% of BPDers (i.e., those having strong BPD traits) also have bipolar.
Thanks for the thread in your link. After reading it, (and I am not a psychologist either, it certainly points to BPD or both BPD and Bi-Polar.


At the link above, my post describes how temper tantrums and rages that "come out of nowhere" are NOT really mood swings. Rather, they are event-triggered mood changes that happen so rapidly -- often in ten seconds -- that I call them "mood flips." It will seem like the BPDer has thrown a switch in her mind.
Yes her moods often change over an innocent comment or action on my part. For instance trying to do a chore together and I will make a comment on what she is doing, and she will stop helping completely, and get angry at me.

you will find that I believe extreme anger is far more characteristic of BPDers. the BPDer's perception of you, while "splitting you black," can be so negative that you will be viewed as Hitler incarnate -- and treated accordingly.
When she is angry at me I get called the worst name imaganable and she uses gret jestures, and motions to describe what she thinks.


Moreover, the push-you-away and pull-you-back cycle is a hallmark of having strong BPD traits. That cycle arises from the BPDers two great fears: abandonment and engulfment.
I describe it as an emotional roller coaster.

However, I have my own abandonment and seperation issues to the point of after a few days without her I start to panic, then make overtures to get her back.

Thanks for all your kind words and info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Only a trained doctor can dx her but I understand she will not go
If we decide to stay in the marriage, I will push for her to see somebody. We are talking, and having pleasant conversations. We are also doing thing together like having dinner, and going to the gym.

We have only been physically seperated for 10 days, but previous to that sleeping in seperate bedrooms, and not really getting along very well
 

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I describe it as an emotional roller coaster.
Another way to describe it is "black-white" or "all-or-nothing" thinking. It will be evident in the way a BPDer tends to categorize everyone as "all good" or "all bad" and -- in ten seconds, based only on a minor infraction -- will recategorize someone from one polar extreme to the other.
I have my own abandonment and seperation issues to the point of after a few days without her I start to panic, then make overtures to get her back.
Traveller, if you've been living with a BPDer for over five years, you almost certainly are an excessive caregiver (i.e., "codependent") like me. If so, staying away from her is going to be very difficult for you when she returns and starts sucking you back into the toxic relationship. One reason, of course, is that -- when BPDers are splitting us white -- they are very VERY good. If your friends have difficulty understanding that, tell them to go see a Marilyn Monroe movie.

Another reason is that, for us caregivers, the notion of walking away from a hurting loved one is ANATHEMA. It goes against our family values, our religion, our sense of commitment -- indeed, against every fiber of our being. Yet that is exactly what you should do if your W has strong BPD traits and is unwilling to learn how to manage them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Traveller, if you've been living with a BPDer for over five years, you almost certainly are an excessive caregiver (i.e., "codependent") like me. If so, staying away from her is going to be very difficult for you when she returns and starts sucking you back into the toxic relationship. One reason, of course, is that -- when BPDers are splitting us white -- they are very VERY good
Yes, that's me. I hang in there because I do truly care about her and don't want anything to happen to her, and she's not very good on her own.

Another reason is that, for us caregivers, the notion of walking away from a hurting loved one is ANATHEMA. It goes against our family values, our religion, our sense of commitment -- indeed, against every fiber of our being. Yet that is exactly what you should do if your W has strong BPD traits and is unwilling to learn how to manage them.
I am going to try to get her to see a professional if we do reconcile. Thanks Uptown.
 

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It often comes out of nowhere.
Spent the first 7 years of my marriage just like your wife. Full of rage followed by happy times. I sought help because it was either that or divorce which I didn't want. The downside to BPD'ers is that they see YOU as the problem not themselves. I went to marriage counseling for the sole purpose for her to get my husband to behave the way I wanted him to. In the end it wouldn't have mattered because he couldn't make me happy only I could.

I will tell you this it doesn't come out of nowhere. There is always a trigger. There is something that sets it off. One of my worst was when my husband left even if just to go to the store. I had separation anxiety and instead of communicating that I raged at him.

I fixed me but it took 4 years of therapy, reading 300 books, learning here and a whole lot of effort on my part. I hear I'm rare. Most BPD's never get better. Your best bet is to learn how to set some very strong boundaries. Read books like stop walking on eggshells or other resources for spouses of those with BPD. If it makes you feel better it's hell to live like this. I wouldn't wish this on anyone but I was toxic and destructive.
 

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I hear I'm rare.
A rare JEWEL, actually. Mavash, I cannot tell you how wonderful it is for us "Nons" (i.e., codependents mostly) to be able to converse with self-aware BPDers here on TAM. It was an experience we longed for over many years when living with our BPDer ex-spouses and ex-partners, none of whom could ever understand what we were talking about.

In my case, for example, I lived for 15 years with a woman who couldn't see the elephant in the room and who really believed -- indeed, still believes -- I was imagining things. It therefore is a joy to come here and speak with members like you, Pidge, Scarlett, and Amy who not only SEE the elephant but have taken active steps to push it out of the house and stop feeding it.
 
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