Are you in a relationship with a woman and find yourself asking questions (often) like “Why did she hurt me?”,”How did I get involved with her?” and “Why does she act that way? Do you feel like your relationship is out of control and that every move you make has the butterfly effect, provoking a hurricane minutes later?
About 6 million people in America have Borderline Personality Disorder, (BPD), most of them are women. If you are in a relationship with a woman with BPD, their behavior is affecting you. Women with BPD are often described as emotionally or verbally abusive, manipulative, deceitful, invalidating, demanding, lacking in empathy, moody, self-harming (use drugs/alcohol, and/or sexually impulsive), illogical, unfair, self-absorbed, and abusive towards children. Now this is important, you do not have to have all of these to have this disorder. There needs to be enough of an influence of these traits to cause chaos in your life and relationships.
A diagnosis can be given by a trained mental health professional if you decided to know if have this disorder or if you are with a partner that may be affected by these character traits. Like most disorders it is manageable, just like diabetes, however it requires treatment and becoming aware of symptoms and coping skills.
Most Borderlines are a powerful force and provoke fear in a relationship. Woman who love a borderline feel “brainwashed” by their partner’s accusations and criticisms. They will make you feel helpless, isolated, get you to doubt what you know and feel, wear you down, and keep you on your toes (in a scary way!). If you are feeling like this and you want to regain control of your life and make better decisions you should go and talk to someone experienced with the disorder.
In our community of women we are bound to bump into a lady affected by BPD (it affects more women then men remember!). We can not always help who we fall in love with, but we can have the knowledge and power to protect ourselves and the wisdom to walk away. Some loves are not worth the pain, unfortunately, sometimes being healthy means knowing what is good for you and feeling the pain of letting go. If you choose to stay in such a relationship, than knowing what triggers certain emotions in you and your partner can help you to better manage the interaction in your relationship.
Borderline personalities have predictable behavior patterns (it’s all about the pattern!), which stem out of nine traits found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), as well as false beliefs. Understanding how your partner’s emotions and behaviors affect you, how you react and how it in turn effects your partner will give light into the cycle of your relationship. Some patterns to look for:
- Extreme Projecting- they attribute their own lack of self-worth unto someone else. Saying things like “I’m not controlling, you are!” “Stop screaming at me” and “You always treat me like shit.”
- Splitting- Everything is black and white or good and bad. If you’re not with them then you are against them, and that can mean war!
- Everything is your fault. It is a pouring of continual blame and criticism. If you are saying “I cannot do anything right!” you have been sucked in.
- My needs are more important. Everything is about them and if you do what they need then everything will be good for you. They will go above and beyond for their own needs to be met.
- I win, you lose, or no one wins! Basically damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
- Keep your distance! No, I mean get a little closer (this one will drive you crazy!) I want you close but feel worthless and afraid if you find out I need you (no this is not freaking charming). The love you/ I hate you game will wear you down like sandpaper on rope.
- Verbal Abuse: domination, assaults, abusive expectations, unpredictable responses, denial, and CHAOS. “I’m telling you this to make you a better person!”
- Emotional Blackmail- they are masters at manipulation, that’s why boundaries are going to be important in developing a healthy cycle.
This is just the surface of the information available to you. There are a lot of resources and information out there. Unfortunately, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people are at greater risk of mental health disorders and suicidal behavior, this could be due partly from prejudice, social stress, social shame about sexuality, and lack of support. This is why as a community we need to reinforce support, resource, and communication amongst ourselves. Some resources available are: Oz online community for LGBT family members with a Borderline Loved One and the book series Stop Walking on Eggshells.
In addition, this is not about judging a woman affected by BPD but it is about making healthier choices (hopefully in the pursuit of happiness). The more knowledge you have of your environment the better decisions can be made for yourself and your family. We all have rights, personal rights, make sure you take a moment to recognize them and make decisions not to avoid pain in the short-term but to find health, love and happiness in the long-term.
Alex Karydi~The Lesbian Guru