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Hi all,

My wife and I have been married for just over a year. It has been hell and frankly I realistically shouldn't of married her in the first place since we have the same issues now as we did before. With that said I did and I want to honor my commitment.

I believe she has BPD. She can never be wrong or at fault, never says she is sorry, her emotions go from from extreme to the other in the course of hours or even days, when she gets upset she will drive very fast and aggressively(which I consider risky behavior plus who know what when I'm not around.

She had a bad childhood. Parents got divorced, I believe she was abused, she tried to kill herself, etc.

She has a 12 year old son that has ADHD and autism. She states she gave him to Children & Youth when she couldn't handle it as a single parent. I came to believe that he was actually taken from her. She file appeal after appeal for over a year to get him back and they didn't do it. She still believes she did nothing wrong and they are totally at fault. She even filed a case against them in the supreme court and it got accepted but she didn't follow through on it. She blames me for that because she is depressed from our relationship. During that time I did offer to sell my car, get a 2nd job, etc to help and she wouldn't let me.

I know I struggle with my communication. I have a unique sense of humor that takes verbiage and ideas to the extreme but even when I slow down and word things nicely she always spins it back on me. It is always my fault, never hers.

Has anyone else had issues like this and if so I'd love to hear what you have to say so I can try anything different.
 

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@farsidejunky, thanks for the call-out!

I believe she has BPD.
PB, I agree that the behaviors you describe -- i.e., verbal abuse, controlling demands, temper tantrums, suicide attempt, reckless lack of impulse control, always being "The Victim" (blaming you for every misfortune), and rapid flips between Jekyll (loving you) and Hyde (devaluing you) -- are classic warning signs for BPD.

Importantly, I'm not suggesting your W has full-blown BPD. Only a professional can determine that. Instead, I'm suggesting you consider whether she is exhibiting a strong pattern of BPD symptoms (i.e., is a "pwBPD").

It is always my fault, never hers.
If your W is an untreated pwBPD, whatever you do likely will be wrong much of the time. She generally will perceive you as being wrong if you DO and wrong if you DON'T.

This conundrum is due to the position of her two great fears -- abandonment and engulfment -- at opposite ends of the very same spectrum. This means you often find yourself in a lose/lose situation because, as you back away from one fear to avoid triggering it, you will start triggering the fear at the other end of that same spectrum.

Your predicament is that the solution to calming her abandonment fear (drawing close and being intimate) is the very action that triggers her engulfment fear. Likewise, the solution to calming her engulfment fear (moving back away to give her breathing space) is the very action that triggers her abandonment fear.

Hence, as you move close to comfort her and assure her of your love, you eventually will start triggering her engulfment fear, making her feel like she's being suffocated and controlled by you. Yet, as you back away to give her breathing space, you will find that you've started triggering her abandonment fear.

In my 15 years of experience with my BPD exW, I found that there is no midpoints solution (between "too close" and "too far away") where you can safely stand to avoid triggering those two fears. Until a pwBPD learns how to better regulate her own emotions and tame her two fears, that Goldilocks position will not exist. This is why a relationship with an untreated pwBPD typically is characterized by a repeating cycle of push-you-away and pull-you-back.

Indeed, even if you are sitting perfectly still and not saying a word, a pwBPD who is experiencing hurtful feelings will project those feelings onto YOU. Her subconscious does this to protect her fragile ego from seeing too much of reality -- and to externalize the pain, getting it outside her body. Because that projection occurs entirely at the subconscious level, she will consciously be convinced that the painful feeling or hurtful thought is coming from YOU.

Hence, as long as you remain in a relationship with an untreated pwBPD having strong symptoms, you will often find yourself hurting her -- i.e., triggering her engulfment fear as you draw near, triggering her abandonment fear as you draw back, and triggering her anger even when you are sitting still in a room saying absolutely nothing.

I want to honor my commitment.
In deciding whether to "honor my commitment," an important issue is whether you are creating more harm than good by staying in the marriage. As noted above, if she is a pwBPD, you are hurting her when you draw near, when you move back away, and when you're sitting still and saying nothing.
Has anyone else had issues like this?
Yes, I was married to a pwBPD for 15 years. Like you, I have a caregiver personality. I therefore spent a small fortune sending her to weekly sessions for 15 years with 6 different psychologists (and 3 MCs). Sadly, she just played mind games with the therapists. All that therapy did not make a dent in her BPD behavior. Not one dent.

Of course, learning to spot BPD warning signs will not enable you to diagnose your W's issues. Although strong BPD symptoms are easy to spot, only a professional can determine whether they are so severe and persistent as to constitute a full-blown disorder.

Yet, like learning warning signs for a stroke or heart attack, learning those for BPD may help you avoid a very painful situation -- e.g., remaining in a toxic relationship or running into the arms of another woman just like her. Learning the red flags also can help you decide when professional guidance is needed.

Significantly, there are 3 key features of BPD behavior that you do not mention. The first is a strong abandonment fear. I therefore ask whether, a few months into your relationship, your W started showing strong jealousy over harmless events with other women -- or tried to isolate you away from close friends and family members? She would view your spending time with friends/family as your choosing THEM over HER.

Second, you would be seeing her rely heavily on black-white thinking, wherein she categorizes everyone close to her as "all good" ("with me") or "all bad" ("against me") and will recategorize someone -- in just a few seconds -- from one polar extreme to the other based on a minor infraction. If so, this B-W thinking also would be evident in her frequent use of all-or-nothing expressions like "you ALWAYS..." and "you NEVER...."

Third, you would not see her expressing her anger to total strangers (e.g., road rage against strangers). Rather, the outbursts and temper tantrums almost exclusively would be expressed against a close loved one (i.e., against YOU or her parents).

If you recognize all 3 of those key features, I would suggest you take a quick look at my list of 18 BPD Warning Signs to see if most sound very familiar. If so and you have questions, I would be glad to discuss them with you.
 

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...

Has anyone else had issues like this and if so I'd love to hear what you have to say so I can try anything different.
Yes, and @Uptown helped me figure it out (eventually).

One point resonated with me in your post, because it was very much my own experience:

It has been hell and frankly I realistically shouldn't of married her in the first place since we have the same issues now as we did before. With that said I did and I want to honor my commitment.
I also saw a lot of the red flags while we were dating, and never quite felt comfortable with her. Early on she did a few things that really affected my ability to trust her, and even though she stopped when I asked her to, we were often fighting, and in bizarre conflicts, with long circular arguments that drove me nuts. She would often claim things I knew were untrue, or that were impossible, in order to justify some of her outbursts.

Anyways, I thought marriage would be the answer to a lot of her problems (I was stupid), and we'd be happier together after she had a ring, and certainty of my commitment. A little background here: She was not from the U.S., and was here on an extended student visa. She was extending it by taking community college classes, but to work in her chosen profession, she needed to pass a bunch of licensing hurdles. All this would take time to study, and a lot of money, which she couldn't afford by working crappy cash jobs where they paid her under the table, on top of having to support herself, and pay the tuition for community college. Her life would be a lot easier though, if she had the immigration part figured out via marriage, and could drop the cost of community college and the time commitment for it.

Needless to say, once we were married & her immigration issues were getting resolved, her anxiety, and the conflicts it created between us didn't end... from there it was one thing after another. And her problems, wants, needs, career goals, etc. were always ALL my responsibility to deal with. I remember filing her immigration paperwork, and asking her about some translation work that needed to be provided, and she screamed at me that I needed to figure it out... even though I didn't speak the language, and she did...

I knew I made a horrible decision almost immediately, but then we found out soon after I proposed that she was pregnant, so I felt I had to stick with it for our child's sake.

Which is another thing I should mention: WHATEVER ELSE YOU DECIDE, DO NOT GET HER PREGNANT.
 

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Due to your almost unbelievable and obvious bad choice making skills in partner picking .... and your completely ridiculous " honor my commitment"
statement, I have no reason to believe you will be able to do the obvious thing ..... Dump and Run.

You can make up any name you want for her condition and assign all kinds of labels to it if it makes you feel better somehow.

The solution is clear as a bell ....... good luck with that "honor my commitment" thing.
 
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