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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First time poster. Need some advice. Will try to summarize the situation.

Been married to my wife since 2006. In 2007, we had our first child. He had some problems and was hospitalized for over a month with a collapsed lung. During the pregnancy, I noticed a change in my wife that consisted of high anxiety, anger, and depression. I chalked it up to hormones. She was released from the hospital less than 24 hours after a C-section, and she would not take her pain meds or anything of the like.

I had been up for 46 hours straight at another hospital where my son was when her family brought her by. They left her and she started to have issues. I took her home so I could rest too and in the driveway she had a nervous breakdown requiring me to call an ambulance. We dealt with that situation accordingly. I had her talk to a doctor and they too chalked it up to hormones.

She's had an ectopic pregnancy in 2008 (which didn't help matters), and we had a 2nd child in 2011. My daughter was a relatively painless pregnancy; however, the same behavior patterns surfaced.

Now, she had her gall bladder removed and I have found that she is out of control. She lashes out at everyone (per her parents, this was surfacing in late teens), and has even gotten physical at times with me when I've tried to take the rational perspective on a situation and offer her a realistic opinion of matters. She wants a third child, but I don't think we can handle it.

This gall bladder surgery has finally made her aware of the issues everyone around her see. I'm hoping that she is open to help, because she wasn't before.

I've started to get distant due to the emotional and physical abuse (there's been hitting, throwing things at me, and she shoved me off the bed forcefully enough to dislocate my shoulder). Today, on Christmas Eve, I pleaded with her to lay down and rest. She off-hand asked me if I wanted her to kill herself. I said no and that I love her, but immediately consulted with her parents on the matter. They are equally concerned.

Sorry if this confuses everyone, but I need some suggestions. I know I want her to see a shrink because of her issues, and possibly get some medication; however, I can't have a recurrence of this anymore. Today's episode she threw a gift bag at me containing a present and it hit me square in the face in front of her parents.

There isn't any doubt I love her, but this has to stop. I would appreciate any suggestions. I've been as patient as I can - dealing with this for 5-6 years really takes it out of you. As a rational, I tend to not lose my temper, only to get onto my 5 year old son for acting up, but who doesn't? I consider that normal anyways.

Help?
 

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I really dont know what to say except that the do you want me to kill myself remark os a huge RED FLAG.

Do not leave her alone at all until you can get some advice from a mental health professional. Even if her parents have to come, someone needs to be with her around the clock until after christmas when you can get some help.

She may need to be hospitalized and evaluated. Right now she is a risk to herself. Dont take this lightly. I do have some personal experience in this area.

Im sorry for what you are going through
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the feedback.

Right now she feels like if we just went on a vacation by ourselves without the kids, we'd be fine. I don't think its a good idea to go, but our anniversary was on Dec 1st, and we promised that we would go somewhere.

Of course we didn't plan for her to have gall bladder surgery 1 week before Christmas.

I don't really know how to proceed here, having never done any of this before. I honestly don't know what hospitalization means and where she would go. I don't know how to proceed in that direction without devastating her and likely permanently ruining my relationship with her.

The other situation is my kids. I don't know how I would get them taken care of while I work.

I also don't know how long she would need.

There are literally a million questions going through my head. She seemed fine after that episode today, enjoying time with the family on the couch this evening, but in the back of my mind, that comment is still there.

Whats worse, is that she said she was joking.

I'm really torn here.
 

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Synaptic, welcome to the TAM forum. I agree with you and TwoFaces that your W should be evaluated by a psychologist. The behaviors you're describing -- verbal abuse, physical abuse, temper tantrums, implied threats of suicide, and emotional instability -- are some of the traits in several well-known patterns of behavior.

Yet, if your W has one of those behavioral patterns, she also would exhibit many other related traits. I therefore ask whether you have often seen most of the following behaviors and, if so, which are the strongest:

  • 1. Black-white thinking, wherein she categorizes everyone as "all good" or "all bad" and will recategorize someone -- in just a few seconds -- from one polar extreme to the other based on a minor infraction;
  • 2. Frequent use of all-or-nothing expressions like "you always" and "you never;"
  • 3. Controlling behavior that tries to isolate you away not only from close friends but also from close family members;
  • 4. Irrational jealousy and inability to trust you for extended periods;
  • 5. Flipping, on a dime, between adoring you and devaluing you;
  • 6. Frequently creating drama over issues so minor that neither of you can recall what the fight was about the next day;
  • 7. Low self esteem;
  • 8. Verbal abuse and anger that is easily triggered, in seconds, by a minor thing you say or do (real or imagined);
  • 9. Fear of abandonment or being alone;
  • 10. Always being "The Victim," a false self image she validates by blaming you for every misfortune;
  • 11. Lack of impulse control, wherein she does reckless things without considering the consequences (e.g., binge eating or spending);
  • 12. Complaining that all her previous BFs were abusive and claiming that you are the only one that has treated her well;
  • 13.Mirroring your personality and preferences so perfectly (e.g., enjoying everything and everyone you like) -- for the first six months of your relationship -- that you were convinced you had met your "soul mate;"
  • 14. Relying on you to center and ground her, giving her a sense of direction because her goals otherwise keep changing every few months;
  • 15. Relying on you to sooth and calm her down, when she is stressed, because she has so little ability to do self soothing;
  • 16. Having many casual friends but not any close long-term friends (unless they live a long distance away);
  • 17. Taking on the personality of whatever person she is talking to, thereby acting quite differently around different types of people; and
  • 18. Always convinced that her intense feelings accurately reflect reality -- to the point that she regards her feelings as self-evident facts, despite her inability to support them with any hard evidence.
If any of those behaviors ring a bell, it would be helpful if you would tell us which ones are most accurate. It also would be helpful to know how persistent her temper tantrums have been. Specifically, did they start appearing about six months into the marriage and then persist (about every two or three weeks) for the next five years? Or, instead, did they only seem to coincide with pregnancy or post partum and the surgery? Take care, Synaptic.
 

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Synaptic, welcome to the TAM forum. I agree with you and TwoFaces that your W should be evaluated by a psychologist. The behaviors you're describing -- verbal abuse, physical abuse, temper tantrums, implied threats of suicide, and emotional instability -- are some of the traits in several well-known patterns of behavior.

Yet, if your W has one of those behavioral patterns, she also would exhibit many other related traits. I therefore ask whether you have often seen most of the following behaviors and, if so, which are the strongest:

  • 1. Black-white thinking, wherein she categorizes everyone as "all good" or "all bad" and will recategorize someone -- in just a few seconds -- from one polar extreme to the other based on a minor infraction;
  • 2. Frequent use of all-or-nothing expressions like "you always" and "you never;"
  • 3. Controlling behavior that tries to isolate you away not only from close friends but also from close family members;
  • 4. Irrational jealousy and inability to trust you for extended periods;
  • 5. Flipping, on a dime, between adoring you and devaluing you;
  • 6. Frequently creating drama over issues so minor that neither of you can recall what the fight was about the next day;
  • 7. Low self esteem;
  • 8. Verbal abuse and anger that is easily triggered, in seconds, by a minor thing you say or do (real or imagined);
  • 9. Fear of abandonment or being alone;
  • 10. Always being "The Victim," a false self image she validates by blaming you for every misfortune;
  • 11. Lack of impulse control, wherein she does reckless things without considering the consequences (e.g., binge eating or spending);
  • 12. Complaining that all her previous BFs were abusive and claiming that you are the only one that has treated her well;
  • 13.Mirroring your personality and preferences so perfectly (e.g., enjoying everything and everyone you like) -- for the first six months of your relationship -- that you were convinced you had met your "soul mate;"
  • 14. Relying on you to center and ground her, giving her a sense of direction because her goals otherwise keep changing every few months;
  • 15. Relying on you to sooth and calm her down, when she is stressed, because she has so little ability to do self soothing;
  • 16. Having many casual friends but not any close long-term friends (unless they live a long distance away);
  • 17. Taking on the personality of whatever person she is talking to, thereby acting quite differently around different types of people; and
  • 18. Always convinced that her intense feelings accurately reflect reality -- to the point that she regards her feelings as self-evident facts, despite her inability to support them with any hard evidence.
If any of those behaviors ring a bell, it would be helpful if you would tell us which ones are most accurate. It also would be helpful to know how persistent her temper tantrums have been. Specifically, did they start appearing about six months into the marriage and then persist (about every two or three weeks) for the next five years? Or, instead, did they only seem to coincide with pregnancy or post partum and the surgery? Take care, Synaptic.
Uptown, I though BPD as soon as I read this, too. OP, you have got to get her, somehow, on board with getting treatment. Do whatever it takes, for your sake, and for hers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Uptown, I though BPD as soon as I read this, too. OP, you have got to get her, somehow, on board with getting treatment. Do whatever it takes, for your sake, and for hers.
Uptown,

Thanks for the feedback. Oddly enough she has exhibited every single one of the behaviors you mentioned. Every 6 months or so she would have an additional behavior you described. This has been ongoing and I've tried to get her help in the past but she was never receptive until this latest gall bladder issue.

She happened to mention to the Er doctor that she had the anxiety problems and they prescribed lorazepam (sp).

Bpd I am assuming is bi-polar disorder? If that's the case then it fits. We're going to try and see someone immediately after Christmas but I'm not sure that will be possible. I will do what I can but I'm at my breaking point now and can't handle another setback.

Thanks for this. It has helped me gain some insight on the situation and I think I know how to proceed. Her parents feel like she may need to be hospitalized. I have a medical p of a for her so I may need to act fast.
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Bpd I am assuming is bi-polar disorder? If that's the case then it fits.
No, Synaptic, all of the 18 behaviors listed above are classic traits of "BPD," i.e., Borderline Personality Disorder. It arises from damage done to the child's emotional core, usually before age 5. It causes the child's emotional development to freeze at about age 3 or 4, leaving the person stuck with the ego defenses available to young children.

The dysfunctional traits, however, usually do not become apparent until the teens, as occurred with your W (according to her parents). I asked you whether her issues had persisted throughout your marriage because BPD traits do not vanish for a couple of years. Rather, they usually disappear only for about 3 to 6 months during the courtship period because the BPDer's infatuation over you will hold her two great fears (abandonment and engulfment) at bay. As soon as the infatuation evaporates, however, those two fears return. This is why it is common for a marriage to a BPDer to start going off a cliff soon after the wedding, if not before.

Significantly, BPD is a "spectrum disorder," which means that everyone has it to some degree. That is, every adult on the planet occasionally exhibits all 9 of the basic BPD traits, albeit at a low level if the person is emotionally healthy. These traits do not become a problem unless they are so strong that they start distorting one's perceptions of other peoples' intentions, thereby undermining all LTRs. An important question, then, is whether your W is a "BPDer" (i.e., has strong BPD traits).

I don't know the answer to that question. I haven't even met the lady. I nonetheless am confident that you can learn to spot the red flags if you will take time to learn what warning signs to look for. Of course, you won't be able to diagnose your W's issues. Only a professional can determine whether her BPD traits are so severe as to meet 100% of the diagnostic guidelines for having full-blown BPD. Simply spotting the red flags, however, is not difficult to do, especially when you've been living with a person for over six years. There is nothing subtle about traits such as verbal abuse, temper tantrums, and rapid flips between loving you and devaluing you.

I therefore suggest you read my brief overview of 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, Synaptic, I would be glad to discuss it with you and point you to good online resources.
 

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Synaptic, although you are primarily describing BPD traits, this does not rule out bipolar. About 40% of BPDers also suffer from bipolar disorder (32% have bipolar-1 and another 8% have bipolar-2). The "advantage" of bipolar is that, because it arises from gradual changes in body chemistry, the vast majority of bipolar sufferers can be treated quite successfully with medication.

In contrast, BPD is not caused by body chemistry changes but, rather, by a personality disorder that has been in place since early childhood. Hence, although meds may be prescribed to reduce the associated anxiety or depression, the meds cannot touch the BPD. It cannot be cured. It typically takes many years of therapy for a BPDer to learn how to control their traits and fears. Sadly, although many good therapy programs are available throughout the nation, it is rare for a high functioning BPDer to be willing to stay in therapy long enough to make a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for the details. It helps me as I work a plan to get her improvement.

As for something happening to her < 5 years old, I believe it has to do with the fact that her mother was physically abused. I don't know the timeframe to that, but it was right around the same time.
 

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Thank you for the details. It helps me as I work a plan to get her improvement.
Synaptic, if you decide she likely has most BPD traits at a strong level (i.e., has most of the red flags) -- after reading the description I linked to above -- I offer the following suggestions:

As an initial matter, if you suspect your W has strong BPD traits, I recommend that you NOT tell her. If she is a BPDer, she almost certainly will project the accusation right back onto you, believing YOU to be the BPDer. Instead, simply encourage her to see a good psychologist (not a MC) and let the psych decide what to tell her.

Second, if you think you may stay with her a while, I suggest you get Stop Walking on Eggshells, the best-selling BPD book targeted to abused spouses like you. Or, if you ever decide to get a divorce instead, get Splitting: Protecting Yourself when Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist. Both books are written by the same author.

Third, I suggest you start participating (or at least lurking) at BPDfamily.com -- the largest and most active BPD forum I've found that is devoted fully to the spouses and family members of BPDers. This issue is such an enormous problem that that website is growing by 20 new members every day. The result is that it offers eight separate message boards on various BPD issues. The ones that likely will be most helpful to you are the "Staying" board, "Leaving" board, and "Raising a Child when One Parent Has BPD" board.

Fourth, while you are at BPDfamily.com, I suggest you read the excellent articles in their resources section. My favorite is article 9 at T9 Surviving a Break-up with Someone Suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder - Columbia University, New York.

Fifth, I suggest you see a clinical psychologist -- for a visit or two by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is you are dealing with -- and how likely it is she may pass it on to your son. As I've explained in many other threads, your best chance of getting a candid opinion regarding a possible BPD diagnosis is to NOT have the BPDer along. Therapists are loath to tell high functioning BPDers the name of the disorder (for the BPDer's own protection).

Finally, Synaptic, please don't forget those of us on this TAM forum. We want to keep trying to answer your questions and providing emotional support as long as you find our shared experiences helpful. Moreover, by sharing your own experiences here, you likely are helping many other members and lurkers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
She already projected it on our son. He has clear similarities in personality with hers. He's horribly defiant with me, and has a big lack of disrespect for other people (i.e. hitting people when angry, kicking puppies, etc).

Thanks for the further feedback.
 

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At risk of overloading you with too much information, Synaptic, I note that I identify 12 differences between bipolar and BPD behavior in my post at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/anxiety-depression-relationships/59344-confused.html#post1175425. I am not a psychologist. Those 12 differences are based on my 15 years of living with a BPDer exW and caring for my bipolar-1 foster son -- plus my experiences in taking both of them to weekly meetings with psychologists throughout that period.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Uptown.

I'll keep everyone posted on what's going on to see if there are any issues between now and the time I go to get her seen.

If that fails, I'll be forced to look out for my kids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So we haven't had any issues since Christmas Eve. I think her mom's comments to her about getting help scared her. This is pretty common though for us to not have any issues for a little while and then it happen really hardcore all of a sudden.

I can't get her seen until after the new year though. In the meantime I've been utilizing the resources you provided me with, Uptown. Thanks for all the help.

I've also been advised to keep a journal of the days events, regardless if shes okay or not. It makes me feel like I'm building a case against her.

She's continually pushing me for a 3rd child though, and I'm not sure we should have one at this point.
 

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This is pretty common though for us to not have any issues for a little while and then it happen really hardcore all of a sudden.
Yes, that's why, in the very unlikely event your W agrees to stay in therapy, it will be extremely difficult to see if any real progress is being made. If she is a BPDer, it likely will take several years for significant improvement to occur. Meanwhile, she will be exhibiting dramatic improvements every two or three weeks. Unstable people are "always improving" in the same way that addicted smokers are "always quitting" -- it happens hundreds of times, occurring every few weeks, but usually doesn't mean any lasting improvement has occurred.
I can't get her seen until after the new year though.
Synaptic, getting your W seen by a psychologist is important. Yet, if she actually has full-blown BPD or strong traits, it is very unlikely her psych will tell her the name of the disorder -- much less tell you (even if you are paying the bills). Doing so would mean that the insurance company will refuse to cover treatment costs. It also would almost certainly mean that your W would immediately refuse to go back to that psych.

It is widely known, both inside and outside the psychiatric profession, that candid information about BPD is routinely withheld from BPDers and their spouses -- for the protection of the BPDers. Remember, your W's psychologist is NOT YOUR FRIEND. He is ethically bound to protect his sick patient. For a more detailed explanation of why you cannot rely on her therapist for candid information, see my post at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/genera...-official-im-getting-divorced.html#post811909.

The result is that, if your W has strong BPD traits, she likely will only be told about the associated Axis-1 disorders (e.g., PTSD, bipolar, anxiety, or depression) -- all of which are covered by insurance. In contrast, BPD and most other PDs (all of which are "Axis-2" disorders) generally are not covered by insurance. Hence, when BPD is a serious possibility, relying on your W's therapist for candid information during the marriage is as foolish as relying on her attorney for candid advice during the divorce.

It therefore is important, for you and your two children, that you obtain candid advice from a psychologist who is ethically bound to protect only YOUR interests, not hers. To accomplish that, see a second psychologist -- one who is not seeing her.
She's continually pushing me for a 3rd child though, and I'm not sure we should have one at this point.
At a time when you are unsure your marriage will survive, and are unsure as to whether your W has a personality disorder that could be passed on to your children, having a third child is the LAST thing you need in your marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes, that's why, in the very unlikely event your W agrees to stay in therapy, it will be extremely difficult to see if any real progress is being made. If she is a BPDer, it likely will take several years for significant improvement to occur. Meanwhile, she will be exhibiting dramatic improvements every two or three weeks. Unstable people are "always improving" in the same way that addicted smokers are "always quitting" -- it happens hundreds of times, occurring every few weeks, but usually doesn't mean any lasting improvement has occurred.Synaptic, getting your W seen by a psychologist is important. Yet, if she actually has full-blown BPD or strong traits, it is very unlikely her psych will tell her the name of the disorder -- much less tell you (even if you are paying the bills). Doing so would mean that the insurance company will refuse to cover treatment costs. It also would almost certainly mean that your W would immediately refuse to go back to that psych.

It is widely known, both inside and outside the psychiatric profession, that candid information about BPD is routinely withheld from BPDers and their spouses -- for the protection of the BPDers. Remember, your W's psychologist is NOT YOUR FRIEND. He is ethically bound to protect his sick patient. For a more detailed explanation of why you cannot rely on her therapist for candid information, see my post at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/genera...-official-im-getting-divorced.html#post811909.

The result is that, if your W has strong BPD traits, she likely will only be told about the associated Axis-1 disorders (e.g., PTSD, bipolar, anxiety, or depression) -- all of which are covered by insurance. In contrast, BPD and most other PDs (all of which are "Axis-2" disorders) generally are not covered by insurance. Hence, when BPD is a serious possibility, relying on your W's therapist for candid information during the marriage is as foolish as relying on her attorney for candid advice during the divorce.

It therefore is important, for you and your two children, that you obtain candid advice from a psychologist who is ethically bound to protect only YOUR interests, not hers. To accomplish that, see a second psychologist -- one who is not seeing her.At a time when you are unsure your marriage will survive, and are unsure as to whether your W has a personality disorder that could be passed on to your children, having a third child is the LAST thing you need in your marriage.
I'm going to utilize my employee assistance program. They provide me with a psychologist free of charge for 6 sessions. The psych can be anyone I choose. I simply provide a voucher. I'm currently researching good candidates near my place of work (which is some distance from my home).

She will utilize someone close to home. That way I don't have to worry about her traveling long distances (especially after a major surgery - she has to be cleared to drive first). Her mom is also volunteering to help ensure she goes in my absence. I'm getting a lot of support from them on this. Insurance should cover, at least 80%. I reviewed my policy, which was changed to PPO, and they will bill me the rest with a 45 dollar co-pay. I called them to confirm.

As for a 3rd child - my gut tells me no anyways, and I don't betray it. No brainer there. I don't feel comfortable anyways bring a 3rd child in with my son's anger issues and stuff.

I think what really scared her, was the fact that we talked about the physical abuse and I told her that there will come a point in time where I will need to worry solely about the kids in those situations. Kind of a "straighten-up, you won't get another chance" comment. Her parents have a lot of experience with her on this and told me that saying that will make her realize what she's doing is wrong. As such, she has been way different with her behavior.

If divorce is my only recourse, my employer has offered several attorneys in the area who will focus on me. They've offered to cover up to 50% of the total cost, plus retainer. I don't want to go that route. It is likely that if she does get help, and does make the necessary improvements, I could lose custody of my kids. Texas is very unforgiving for husbands/fathers. There's a really bad track record in my area for that.

She doesn't know I'm considering divorce. I intend to keep it that way. I don't want her going off on me or the kids or having another mental meltdown.

Thank you for continued support / discussion Uptown. I'm utilizing your posts as good research.
 

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Synaptic, that sounds like a good plan to me. A very good plan. Yes, I know how "pro wife" the courts can be in Texas. I once lived in Houston area for several years. Hopefully, you will never have to fight for child custody.

Yet, because that is a serious possibility, I suggest you buy a VAR and keep it hidden nearby. During her tantrums, you can slip it into your breast pocket and record the exchange. This will be useful because, if your W has strong BPD traits and is high functioning, nobody outside the immediate family will see her dark side.

With high functioning BPDers, the two fears are threatened -- thus triggering the rage -- only when you draw close enough to cause engulfment or pose a threat of abandonment. It therefore is difficult for casual friends of hers to believe the dark side exists.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, I guess I spoke too soon.

I'm holding out until the psychologists are opened up in my area, but its really hard. She doesn't quite understand the meaning of rest, especially after a major surgery. She was up since 4 am last night, and said she had too much on her mind. No other reason - not stress, not anxiety.

Today, she really turns a blind eye to how the kids act, and when a friend is over, she completely disregards anything happening around her.

My son acted up hardcore, and, since no discipline is handed out from her, I did so. I didn't yell, scream, or do any type of "verbal abuse" that she said I did.

I feel defeated right now.
 

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Well, I guess I spoke too soon.... I feel defeated right now.
No, despite how you feel, you've got a plan and you're implementing it. You are on course. Of course, executing a plan doesn't mean you are not going to feel awful some days or that you have any control over her. Some days you will even feel like you are back at step one. But those are just feelings. Don't believe them. You are making good progress. If she has strong BPD traits, leaving her is going to be a messy, nasty, vindictive process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here's what I can't figure out.

There are many psychologists in my area. There are also psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and clinical psychiatrists.

What do I send her to? A psychiatrist? It seems like she's going to need anxiety medication for sure, so that seems like the place she needs to go, but I'm just not sure.

Research seems to indicate that the 2 fields overlap somewhat, which makes it kinda blurry when it comes to getting her into the right place.

Any insights?
 
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