BPD and Romantic Relationships: If You Really Loved Me
Romantic relationships are difficult enough without mental illness entering the equation. But when one or both of the people involved has borderline personality disorder (BPD), relationships can become sheer hell. I live with BPD and was once in a romantic relationship with a man who had BPD and bipolar disorder; it was probably the biggest mistake I ever made. That said, I learned a lot from it.
With Borderline Personality Disorder - Be Prepared for Manipulation
Not only can people with BPD be manipulative, but they can be easily manipulated. My ex controlled my life, and I let it happen because I thought I was in love with him. He had a facial expression that caused me to give in every time. He also convinced me I was trying to manipulate him. He was a master con artist who referred to me as "the fiancee from hell"--and I believed it. I put up with a lot from him because he had me convinced I was the problem.
People with BPD may not always realize they're being manipulative. It may not even be their intention. I sincerely believe my ex was trying to meet his needs the only way he knew how. It is important to establish some rules if you're entering a relationship with someone with borderline personality disorder. Set healthy limits. Most people with BPD will initially be angry, but will eventually respect that.
For example, tell a person who self-injures that you will automatically take them to the hospital if they self-harm. Tell an alcoholic that you will not give them money for their addiction. Refuse to be taken advantage of. State clearly how you feel about a request. Be gentle, but firm. Let them know that while they are not responsible for their diagnosis and that they are not bad people, they are responsible for how they manage their symptoms.
When I broke off the relationship, he called me to blame me for his suicide attempt. I refused to talk to him and told him that unless he went back on his meds and back into therapy, it was over. He didn't respect that, so I got a restraining order against him. That got the message through to him.
You may need to take extreme action in a relationship with a person with borderline personality disorder. Know your limits, make them clear, then stick to them!
Remember, You're Dealing with a Sick Person
People with BPD often stopped developing emotionally in childhood. This carries over into adulthood as unhealthy coping skills such as substance abuse and self-injury. You are dealing with a sick person and should adjust your attitude accordingly. Be patient, but don't be a doormat.
My ex was fond of pointing out my symptoms while denying his. He eventually went off his medication, saying, "Medication don't do nothing Jesus can't." He denied he was sick and told me I was the one who was sick. He was fond of telling me, "If you don't calm down I'll have you I.D.ed!" (An I.D. is a 24-hour psychiatric hold.) Healthy relationships do not have this element of fear. Healthy relationships face conflict and work to overcome it. Thus, a relationship with a non-mentally ill person can be unhealthy, and a relationship with someone with a mental illness can be healthy. It all comes down to how you handle conflict.
Learn What You Can About Borderline Personality Disorder
If you're going to enter into a relationship with someone with BPD, learn what you can about the illness. HealthyPlace.com is an excellent resource with pages ranging from the symptoms of BPD to types of treatment to information about medication. Knowledge is power, and the more that you know, the more you'll be able to prepare for the highs and lows of the relationship.
You can also find Becky Oberg on Google+, Facebook and Twitter and Linkedin.
Oberg, B. (2014, June 10). BPD and Romantic Relationships: If You Really Loved Me, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 6 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2014/06/if-you-really-loved-me-bpd-and-romantic-relationships
Author: Becky Oberg
I think my friends has bpd. She stated to me that she doesn't like titles as far as being called my girlfriend or in a relationship. She said being in a relationship she becomes possessive and overthinks things. Says we are involved with each on a serious aspect, but She doesn't want a title and she gets angry easily
I am struggling more niw than I ever have with my BPD. I married someone that i thought understood I had an illness. I was in therapy for 20 years and my therapist fired me last month bc Ive been stuck for a while. :( Im just like anyone else with BPD. Im terrified of being abandoned or rejected. My spouse i found looking at porn and was completely devastated. He just couldnt get that it offended me to absolute irrational proportions and while i sunk into the floor sobbing uncontrollably, my husband left me there with my 5 year old daughter as the only person to take care of me. He doesnt understand atcall and doesnt think he needs to understand this mental illness... if you live me, why cantbu at least try? Im so broken into little pieces. I cant hardly function at all. Thanks for the article. Im going to sgare with him. Maybe he will read it?
Let's address THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
ABUSE IS ABUSE !! PERIOD !!
It doesn't matter if the ABUSER has Borderline personality disorder, Narcissistic personality disorder, Antisocial personality disorder, Histrionic Personality disorder or any disorder at all.
If you are being ABUSED GET OUT !! RUN AS FAR AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN !!
Then GET YOURSELF SOME SERIOUS HELP !! You need to find out what attracts you to unhealthy people to begin with.
If you are in an ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP, GET OUT !! What are you wanting for ? Are you some kind of masochist? Are you waiting for your "LOVE" to find a new victim and dump you? Are you wanting to get pushed to your limit and SNAP? GET OUT !! Before someone gets seriously hurt besides you. GET OUT !! Before you lash out at your ABUSER or one of the people who they cheated with or yourself. Ultimately YOU LOSE.
GET OUT, RUN AS FAR AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN, GET YOURSELF SOME SERIOUS HELP and believe that you can have a normal, healthy, happy relationship with someone who truly loves and respects you.
Personality Disorders are developed over a lifetime of trial and error.
ABUSE DOESN'T HAVE TO BE TOLERATED!!
Maybe once those with Personality Disorder understand this they'll be motivated to change.
My name not important I was recently diagnosed with BPD a month ago for years I was told I have bipolar and thought I did but I never did anything to have it know I’m BPD I’m tired of medication I’m tired of therapy My life is in shambles right know I’ve been married for 13 years my children 3 are grown my baby boy is in jail for rape he’s only 15 I’m devastated I’m losing my mind I just feel like life just sucks
Sherita... I’m in a relationship w a BPD I cannot believe I am still with 9 months later and am just beside myself with self hate...I’m pretty sure I’m undiagnosed BPD...came here - again - to seek relief in common grounds..and I guess I just wanted you to know my heart goes out to you & has many times over when I return: happy new year. Happy new year to you, and bless your heart.
Thank you for your comment. Of course, your opinion here is valid, but I think it is important to recognize that everyone feels and responds to certain stimuli differently. People with BPD have real difficulty with emotional regulation, impulse control and thinking in extremes. Compassion is more helpful to people with BPD than judgement, I believe. - Rosie Cappuccino, Writer on More than Borderline blog
I have borderline personality disorder and although I find it hard at times to understand myself and where I’m coming from and to manage my emotions, Dialectical behavioural therapy has helped me a lot with that. I am appalled with your use of using posts to bash everyone with bpd by saying we are manipulative when I have never been manipulative but manipulated by others. It sounds like you need to be made aware that you are hurting others like myself by posting comments like this online and made aware of what bpd is and what the symptoms are. You’re seriously a disappointment to the human race.
It’s not that people with BPD don’t deserve love ... it’s just that people with personality disorders are exhausting... and there is just nobody who is worth the bother in a relationship ... drop them fast as you can. I had a mother who was bipolar with multiple peersonality disorders, a girlfriend with NPD and a wife with BPD. They’ll suck you dry until you’re reason for living is gone. They’ll imbue you with negativity that changes you for the worst ... get out.
I’m just curious. Has anyone here been diagnosed with a mental disorder and found themselves in a very toxic relationship with someone who has BPD. I have Bipolar 2, my ex has claimed he has BPD and from the push and pull attitude, splitting, obsessive stalking, and emotional manipulation he’s attempted by threatening to kill me and my loved ones... I feel like I’ve opened up hell’s gates. We’ve been broken up for a good amount of time, way over a year and he still writes malicious falsities about me to acquaintances and has even attempted to do so with my SO. When I was with him he was able to convince ME that I had BPD (despite the fact I don’t relate to 7 of the 9 criteria)... we broke up because I found out he was involved with cam girls and still obsessed with his ex (found convos, pics, and old recordings of her as well as a disturbing post about how he wanted to kill her when they broke up). I had to report him to the police but they won’t do anything until he attempts to make physical contact. I’m just wondering, how can one not think manipulation remains one of their worst symptoms when it’s so prevelant in the majority of people’s experiences with BPD individuals? Bipolar 2 can be exhausting to deal with as well, but I’ve been through some extensive therapy to manage my moods and the skills have helped me stabilize tremendously without the need for meds. I’m just curious to see if anyone who suffers from a physiological disorder has been caught up with a BPD individual who has systematically sought out to attempt to dismantle your sanity and devistate public perception of your integrity... I’m so tired of this. Part of me feels confusion and pity for whatever instability and turmoil he goes through but the other half of me has had too much of this. Btw I don’t talk to him anymore at all, no phone, no social media, no in person meeting.
I am in this boat. The exact one you were in. After counciling sessions he was diagnosed as BPD and after 7 years of learning this I am making the move. I was diagnosed with severe depression and a touch of BP too. Your story is my story except I’ve been married for almost 35 years to him. He has taken me to my core and Ive been so manipulated. It’s made me emoitally sick the names he calls me. And it’s all about him. All about him.
Oh my god, me and a friend have bpd and yes we admit we can be manipulative when our overthinking and paranoia kicks in, and suffer with the rest of some the symptoms you described (I also suffer bipolar), but that is just to an extreme! I’ve read that most male bpd patients act out more darkly (again, from what I read), and he needs serious help. The older someone gets the worse the bpd can definitely get. Sounds like he has mild to probably severe BPD. He needs help pronto! Me and my friend only only have it moderately to mild and we are desperate to get help and to get better. My therapist/psychologist has told me that men are more narcisstic and more stubborn to admit their faults and to say they need help than women do. I can see that with nearly all my male relatives.
I believe my fiance has BPD she blames me for everything nothing's never her fault we are to get married in 3 months and I love her very very much can anybody help me as to tell me if that is so does she have BPD or is her actions a trait of BPD please help thank you and let me know how I can help her if it's so and what steps can I take to make your relationship better
Hi Day! Thank you for reading. We aren't able to make diagnoses through the blog and always recommend that diagnoses be left for mental health professionals to decide. I would recommend continuing to read and seeking help from a qualified professional to improve the relationship and to determine if BPD may be involved. I really understand how difficult relationships can be. Reading and educating yourself seems like a great first step. -Whitney
I've been with my wife for 32 years and could not understand why I couldn't do anything right. Why little things would make her angry and frustrated. Saying no to her would be a blowup moment. Telling me when she brings home something for me and that she thinks about me in a condescending way or making me feel guilty. I can say that manipulation does play a part. I guess that because of fear and abandoment? All I can say is I'm glad to see that there is info with this BPD.. does anyone know a support group I can join to chat more about this. It will enlighten me and help me get back who I am..
Consult a psychologist. they will help you to deal with this. I myself came across someone with BPD and I know how difficult it is to deal with them
Hi Anthony! Thank you for reading and sharing your perspective. Generally if you seek help from a qualified mental health professional, they can direct you to support groups that may be specific towards BPD or other serious mental illness, depending on where you're located. 12-step groups like Al-Anon have free meetings available to anyone that can help us learn to detach from other people's emotions and begin to set healthy boundaries. You may also look into resources with NAMI, the national association of mental illness. I'm the new author of the More than Borderline blog and encourage you to keep reading! Thank you. -Whitney
I have suffered from bpd for most of my adult life.. the truth hurts sometimes. Getting all butt hurt about it isn't helping our case lmao Manage the symptoms, do your DBT, quit your complaining. It is what it is, but pretending we aren't manipulative people is just lying to yourself. Be real. Knowing the problem is half the battle.
Coming from someone who suffers from this disorder and hides it from people in their life. because people like becky who act like people like me are minipulative awful people just hurts. I believe that im capable of love but should I tell people in my life in advance that their dealing with a sick individual? I have suffered the tragidies of life like most and probably on a more drastic scale but the toll it takes on me makes me, me. I have fought all my life but if having boarderline personality disorder makes people believe that im a manipulative psychopathic sick person than I can skip the stressful nights of self-hate and emptiness because it seems all the hate towards people suffering from BPD is all here in this article. I read this article trying to understand my condition and if it wasnt for Savannah and others in this post who dont believe that people with BPD are hopeless. I might of believed that i was a psychopathic sick person.
Omg! :( I also stumbled across this article in hope I could find some self help about BPD and how to help my relationship get back to normal again, after a breakdown that happened a few months ago. When I came across this article, I was disgusted that people with my condition are labelled as “unloving” and “sick”.. I think personally, that the person who wrote this article probably hasn’t got a clue what there talking about, and has stemmed this article from a bad experience they have had. No, not all people with BPD are “manipulative “ or “abusive” . I feel the person who wrote this, has absolutely 0 respect for anyone but themselves, and needs to come out of the dark ages! The article is disgusting!
Omg! :( I also stumbled across this article in hope I could find some self help about BPD and how to help my relationship get back to normal again, after a breakdown that happened a few months ago. When I came across this article, I was disgusted that people with my condition are labelled as “unloving” and “sick”.. I think personally, it’s “sick” that the person who wrote this article probably hasn’t got a clue what there talking about, and has stemmed this article from a bad experience they have had. No, not all people with BPD are “manipulative “ or “abusive” . I feel the person who wrote this, has absolutely 0 respect for anyone but themselves, and needs to come out of the dark ages! Disgusting!
Got to "can be really manipulative" and stopped. Way to keep up the stigma. It is so sad that articles like these arent to help others understand people with BPD, but to "warn" people about what theyre getting into. Shameful article. Do your research and actually talk to people with BPD rather than just saying "Yeah, theyre just all manipulative psychopaths." Im so ashamed that people have actually come to this article for "help" with BPD sufferers. Makes me SICK.
'People with BPD often stopped developing emotionally in childhood.' This isn't how BPD works, it's a disorder that means suffers struggle to regulate emotion.
Its like a broken stereo, its either full blast or mute. Tbh it also sounds as if the bf has more issues than BPD.
Correct. People with BPD struggle to regulate emotions BECAUSE having the ability to regulate emotions are what individuals who HAVE emotionally developed in and beyond childhood are able to do.
I found this part very interesting. And I feel its quite reasonable to define it as the author and TireofBPDabuse both have. (I am the former (briefly) partner of a male undiagnosed BPD. In my humble opinion I also believe he has anosognosia. Disclosure; I am not a mental heath professional just someone who has sought to understand the behaviour I have experienced).
From the word go I felt his views on things and behaviour were like those you’d expect from a 15 year old. He cant respond normally to me talking to any male and has done things such as send me a close up picture of his eye with a tear at it. This is an intelligent successful professional respected in his workplace etc. At first I laughed off some of his behaviour as it seemed so ridiculous but I now realise its no laughing matter.
I mentioned anosognosia; also very interesting to read about that. What Ive read is that ‘someone with acute mental illness may not be thinking clearly enough to consciously choose denial. They may instead be experiencing “lack of insight” or “lack of awareness.” ...When we talk about anosognosia in mental illness, we mean that someone is unaware of their own mental health condition or that they can’t perceive their condition accurately’
Spot on. He appears to have very very little awareness at all and has told me its all me. He has a chain of failed relationships and I am aware of at least two of his former partners having experienced this behaviour.
Ive truly tried to understand and support him before I understood the extent but cant go on.
I salute those of you who are aware of the condition and are working to improve your lives through therapies like DBT. I wish you nothing but the best.
I agree with Sly and disagree with Zanne and E. This advice is good. Shes not saying all borderlines are manipulative. Also not saying she threatened to put boyfriend in a facility. It was he who threatened her that way. Make sure you double check what you think you read before you jump all over it.
Yeah, no, this advice is not "good." Anyone who starts out with "can be manipulative" when speaking of borderlines is ignorant and just adding to the stigma. So get all over THAT.
Um im a mental health professional and licensed as a therapist. Being manipulative is one of the presenting symptoms of this disorder. It’s true. I am in private practice and while as the author states, not all
Borderlines are manipulative, most are.
She may not be a mental health professional, but it is sound advice (this is coming from an aspiring mental health professional). Those with Borderline Personality Disorder may not all be manipulative, but often, that is one of the signs. And for those that are manipulative, they need to know that a relationship isn't an excuse to use someone else. Do you have BPD? I wonder, because by demanding that someone take down an article from 4 years ago because you find it offensive sounds pretty manipulative to me. Personally, I believe I do have BPD. And while I may not particularly thrilled to read this article because it hits close to home, but it is sensible.
"Coming from an aspiring mental health professional" who probably doesnt even have any mental issues therefore will never be able to truly relate.... "Its sensible" because you dont have BPD. Dont be a mental health "professional" if youre gonna preach on how "manipulative" people with certain DISORDERS are.
This article really needs to be taken down. You are not a mental health professional. Saying that all individuals with BPD are manipulative is not only outright wrong, but it's unethical that you are parading it around as fact. And btw, sometimes the absolute worst thing you can do is threaten someone who is a self-mutilator. Horrible advice.
I couldn't agree more. This woman sounds like a total control freak. Psychiatric hospitals have a limited number of beds and they are ment to be used for people pose a serious threat to the lives of themself or others NOT as a tool of relationship manipulation. After reading this irresponsible post I will never take advice from anything on this site!
I wasn't going to comment, but after reading this ridiculous comment with the even more ridiculous reply, I had no choice.
Let me start off, I HAVE BPD and Bipolar 1, actually diagnosed, not assumed. And I will be the first one to say that this was a good article to read. Why? Because it opens up a new perception, a view from someone else's eyes, if you will. Not once did she say she was a professional or an expert on any level. She has made it perfectly clear that this is her OWN experiences. Did she need to write "Results may vary" or "Not typical experience" ??? If you say yes, well, then you're the reason we have to put "caution hot" on coffee cups or "do not ingest" on shampoo bottles. Smh. How pathetic are you? You're sitting here attacking the author because you did not agree with her OWN PERSONAL LIFE EXPERIENCES. Obviously your experiences, mine, and the authors are all going to be different. Perception. Even if we all went through the same thing, it would be different to each of us due to our own perception. Who's to say who's is right or wrong? Stop trying to white knight the internet, you're not "protecting" any one. Getting offended over someone sharing their life experience is pretty damn ridiculous. Stop white knighting the internet, and keep an open mind. You might just learn something.
M Krueger, read that first sentence and stopped.
What’s interesting is not really the article but the responses. Lots of hostility, anger, lashing out and defending personal experiences and beliefs.
Agreed. As I was reading the comments I felt the same anxiety I get when I talked to my gf who displays symptoms of bpd. It was like I was dealing with the same frustration of how she responds to things.
As far as people getting upset that this article states that BPD people CAN be manipulative, and that they don't often realize they are being manipulative, is a way to try to inform someone who doesn't know about this issue to some of the potential things to look out for. The fact that the author added that they often don't know they are being manipulative helps me let go of anger an resentment when I think about the ways I've certainly been manipulated.
After reading your bio, I see you are NOT a
mental health professional, but a woman with BPD yourself. I found this surprising. That you have felt the pain of the unwarranted stigma associated with this illness, yet you have done nothing but add to it with this article. You took an opportunity to accurately educate and inform and you blew it. You should have began the article with a disclaimer stating this was your opinion and your opinion alone and that you have BPD yourself!! It is not accurate an representation and is over generalized, and extremely negative.
This was nothing but irresponsible.
My son needs this article
Wow, a post-breakup revenge article bashing a mental disorder. It seems BPD has A LOT of scorned lovers who like to play victim. Just cause you two didn't work out doesn't mean you need to stigmatize our disorder. I'm sure you're a mental health professional with a perfectly healthy mind and did nothing to negatively contribute to that relationship...
This is an atrocious article for BPD sufferers.
Wow. As a BPD sufferer myself, this article is awful. Don't give people unsolicited advice. This makes us all look absolutely horrible, and any potential partner who reads this is going to run for the hills. Luckily, my boyfriend looks at how I am as opposed to "which disorder I am". This is god-awful.
My husband has BPD and Bipolar and still gets angry outbursts, doesn't always take his meds which are for his moods but he refers they are to make him tired.I wish my life was happy but its not as all my energy is absorbed from giving it to him.Lies,addiction, being aggressive and negative takes its toll on me,my family and leaves me wondering if its best to separate after 30 years marriage. I try to set strong rules in my relationship which is difficult to do if a person gets angry,won't talk or walks away.Finally I admire anyone who has positively been able to improve things for better.
Becky, though you claim to have had BPD yourself, I find this article very unsympathetic and dangerous. You are not a therapist, you should not be giving people advice that could adversely impact the lives of those you know are capable of self harm and suicide. If I, a borderline individual, one who actively seeks help, cops to my negative actions, takes steps to protect those I care about when I feel episodes coming on, were to miss out on a potential relationship because my SO read this and got frightened, I don't know what I'd do! True, people with BPD who don't take responsibility and don't seek to heal themselves are often horrible, (sick, but horrible) it gives you no right to paint us with the same brush. We aren't all Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction', and you would know that if you ever had BPD. Some of us are Vincent Van Gogh, and maybe if people were all a bit nicer to him, things wouldn't have worked out the way they did. [moderated]
This makes us appear as if we are more trouble than we are worth! This article is not what we need for our loved ones to think and feel about us. I am beyond disappointed at you all for putting this out for people to read and use as guidance in their lives.
We raised a grand daughter who is now an adult and after many counselling sessions believe she is still struggling with BPD
I admire and respect people with BPD who get help, and recognize that their behaviors have a terrible impact on others. I respect and admire people with BPD who take responsibility for their actions, and seek to change. Taking responsibility for one's actions (as opposed to saying it is someone else's fault) learning to control their anger and responses, and learning to stop any bullying or abusive behaviours that are theirs is the mark of someone with a mental disorder who is on the way to health. These are also the very things that are the hardest for someone with BPD to do, by the very nature of the disorder. But I know a few people with BPD who have positively taken charge of their lives in this way. (More who haven't, truthfully, but still: change is possible!)
My girlfriend has just disappeared again. This relationship is just a disaster, I can't have any friends we have really violent fights and rough sex she's also an alcoholic and will use Ice. when we both use omg I get abused for hours, I snap and slap her and push her and hurt her I ask her to stop so many times she can't it is just awful, she has no support or contact from family except her Mum. She got cut off from her kids she's burnt every bridge.
The behavior is weird and creates a ton of apprehension. Can't trust her steals my debit and credit cards cheats lies etc etc. The Sex is deviant and kinky. Not a chance of any success cause she sabotages, manipulates etc. She doesn't 100% mean it and I feel for her she sabotages herself too and self harms. I wouldn't recommend seeing someone with this disorder. Very damaging.
Well this was a horrible article to stumble upon while browsing the internet to try and find some help in coping with my disorder.
I am 23. I am a female. I have BPD. All of my relationships have been unstable. I have a hard time controlling my emotions day to day. But that doesn't mean I am incapable of loving. In fact, I feel I have been more capable at loving than some other people I know who are not suffering this disorder.
just because you had a horrible, personal experience doesn't mean that that is how ALL of us are. All of your suggestions are horrible. Why would you threaten someone who is suffering self harm or alcoholism? How do you think that will establish trust in the relationship, let alone trust for them to come to you when they are feeling unstable? Would you threaten someone with cancer that if they show any symptoms, you will take them to the chemo center and subject them to shaming them for asking help with their symptoms? People with BPD don't understand the concept of manipulation. Being manipulative is coercing someone to do something for you without them knowing you know you are doing so. In my personal experience, I have never been manipulative on purpose because of my BPD. I have simply not had the coping mechanisms to deal with intense feelings. From what you have written, it sounds like your ex was partially suffering from BPD as well was an abusive partner. You have to learn to differentiate the two; just because your partner was abusive on top of being Borderline, doesn't mean the rest of us are; and because of articles like this, it is even harder for people suffering to find help. So thanks, I hope one day you receive counselling as well.