BLACKMAILED INTO FATHERHOOD;
Borderline women, and men who love them.

By Shari Schreiber, M.A.
www.GettinBetter.com

 

The phone call with news that you're going to be a father has come, and in an instant, it feels like the bottom of your world has dropped out. As anxiety overtakes you, you begin thinking about how you're going to extract yourself from this mess with a gal you've had a one-night-stand with, or have been seeing for awhile. Whatever the circumstances surrounding this unplanned pregnancy are, you will be paying for 18 years of child support, whether you marry that woman or not--and no court of law will let you off this hook.

I often wonder what our society would be like, if men could get pregnant. Would they be suing their former girlfriends or lovers for maternity? And how might women feel about being on the financial hook for eighteen years or so, providing for children they never wanted in the first place? I’m curious about how a female would handle being tied for virtually the rest of her life, to a guy she had a one-night fling with, just because he'd conceived a child with her. Sadly, this happens to males all the time--in fact, the frequency of this kind of injustice is staggering. It’s disheartening to think that women intentionally entrap men with pregnancy--and in this woman’s opinion, it’s a form of blackmail, and there ought to be laws prohibiting it!

The primary aim of this article is to caution men about dangerous women and entrapment by conception--but that's just the tip of this iceberg. Much of this material speaks to the terrible emotional torment that goes hand-in-hand with these affairs, so that men can make sense of their most troubling and painful relationship experiences. Whether you're single or married, if you are involved with a woman who's brought chaos and destruction to your life but you just can't let her go, this piece holds vital information for you!

Women who ‘entrap’ are typically bright, attractive/alluring, highly seductive and charismatic--but their moods are mercurial, and behavior patterns are extremely unstable. Relationships are characterized by an ongoing series of breakups or periods of distancing, and reunions. Wildly alternating relational dynamics (come here/go away) can feel confusing and emotionally injurious, leaving you with the sense that they either love you or hate you! Within the same day or hour their perceptions of you can shift dramatically--and you'll be feeling adored/idealized or devalued/criticized/rejected. These behaviors and traits are consistent with Borderline Personality Disorder, and here's more:

Borderlines are narcissistic--but you'll also observe other problems, such as; desperate attempts to gain attention, intense/irrational abandonment fears, lack of empathy, extreme jealousy, lying, poor impulse control, extramarital affairs, drug/alcohol abuse, hypersexuality, 'crazy-making' interactions, low self-esteem, rebound relationships, passive-aggression, cognitive distortion, self-harming behaviors, eating disorders, panic/anxiety issues, OCD, suicidal ideation, pervasive neediness/clinginess, emotional volatility, stalking, etc.

This next section on forced paternity holds critical information for all males, but if this isn't your immediate concern, scroll down and familiarize yourself with a variety of BPD issues that were shared by men who've struggled just as you have, and recovered. If your affair has abruptly ended, read this first; AT ANY COST: Saving your Life after Loving a Borderline.

WHO'S YOUR DADDY?

Tremendous advancements have been made in the field of contraception, yet countless males are still being trapped into marriage and/or fatherhood, and the repercussions are vast. Historically, females never wanted to be pregnant out of wedlock, so men have naively continued to hand the issue of birth control over to their partners. While it's the responsibility of both parties to insure against conception, males are easily seduced and infinitely more vulnerable to getting entrapped than they believe--particularly when their voiced concerns/queries are met with assurances that, “it’s safe.” Think this won't happen to you? Think again!

Women with agendas to have children give men no say in this matter, and are often looking for a ‘free ride’ in terms of financial support. They could harbor significant abandonment wounds from childhood that cause them to frantically grasp at opportunities for emotional security, so having a man’s baby insures that he cannot sever all ties with her, if he needs to leave. But ask yourself this; would an emotionally sound female want to keep a guy around, knowing he doesn't want to be there? Conception doesn’t “just happen,” and with very few exceptions (such as rape) I’ve always believed that if a woman is clear about not wanting to conceive or mother a child, she won’t. Ambivalence is too often the cause of unwanted and 'unplanned' pregnancies--but tragically, the children of these mishaps suffer most, as they're the unwitting victims of unstable relational dynamics that began long before they were born.

Any woman (straight or gay) who yearns to have a baby and is equipped to provide a loving/stable home for this child, may adopt or use the services of a fertility doctor or clinic. My point is, this is a conscious adult choice, which entails accepting full financial and emotional responsibility for this decision. But when a couple's faced with an unintended pregnancy and they disagree about keeping it, neither should be forced to pay the terrible, life-altering price for this occurrence! Inequities may always exist between females and males in every society--but in my view, this one's the most hideous. Until our legal system mandates that women are equally financially responsible for these "accidents," men will continue to be brutalized by governing bodies that persistently ignore this travesty. Furthermore, if we sanction a woman's "right to choose," how is it even remotely fair that a man's denied this same liberty?

When you own a penis and haven't had a vasectomy--that pistol is loaded, and can get you entrapped! Men aren't the only ones reading this piece, and it can function like a how-to manual for females who have no scruples. You must be wise, and very cautious with the disposal of your ejaculate.

Females determined to impregnate themselves without a partner’s consent, lack adult emotional development--which means their capacity for empathy (ability to identify with another's feelings and needs) is extremely limited. Accompanying moral deficits allow them to premeditate conception, which is diabolical, unconscionable behavior that's akin to criminal theft. Financially successful men are especially at risk for entrapment, but in no way is this issue confined to specific socioeconomic status. Our legal system does not discriminate, even when your substantial monthly child support payments are going to a female who has; stopped taking her birth control pills, lied to you about where she was in her monthly cycle, told you she's infertile or has never wanted kids, perforated her own supply of prophylactics, or inserted the contents of discarded condoms to impregnate herself with your sperm! Any of these actions is a prelude to extortion. A client of mine was once involved with a woman who actually stated she was going to “steal a baby" from him! She was engaged to marry somebody else at that time, and was having sexual relations with other men--but genetic testing revealed that this child was his. This man has made significant financial and emotional contributions to his son’s life to solidify their bond; he's chosen to be a loving/involved parent, despite the mother's consistent attempts to alienate their child from him. Still, this experience has been deeply troubling and life-changing on many levels. Before you do anything, demand paternity testing, and make sure that baby is yours!

[Certainly, not every female who conceives outside of wedlock has done so deliberately, but there are various options for someone who has accidentally become pregnant, or thinks she may have--in fact, the morning-after pill was developed in direct response to these situations! The morning-after pill is effective for up to 72 hours after intercourse. The abortion pill (RU486) non-surgically terminates pregnancies of 4 to 9 weeks duration. Alternatives to surgical or non-surgical abortion include surrogacy or adoption arrangements made through attorneys who specialize in finding responsible, loving couples who desperately want to be parents, but cannot conceive. While abortion can be a painful consideration for both parties, most men will readily accept financial responsibility for the cost of this procedure, and many are sensitive to their partner's very difficult, but sane choice. If you've suddenly found out you have a child, this new legal statute may help; www.ParentingPlan.net.]

FASCINATION, INFATUATION & BONDAGE

A man who's caught in the clutches of a borderline disordered female feels ebullient when things are “good” between them, and miserable when they’re not. He’ll come to think of her like a drug he can’t live without, because he feels alive and buoyant when she’s loving, attentive and available, and empty and tortured when she’s indifferent, detached or cruel. Periods of disengagement may cause him to obsessively long for her return, and resort to elaborate strategies to re-engage her--but this pursuit has no happy ending.

No matter how gorgeous she is, this woman is insecure and hypersensitive to any hint of abandonment (real or imagined), but terrified of attachment. This means, she's incapable of sustaining an intimate connection--but if she suspects you're slipping away or distancing, she'll become highly focused on luring you back (whether you matter to her or not)! In the early phase of this romance you'll be captivated, and intrigued with her intensity--but over time, her behaviors can feel either suffocating or severely alienating.

It's not uncommon for a female with borderline traits to conceive, in order to speed-up the tempo/pacing of her relationship, and secure a commitment of marriage. If her boyfriend's an essentially good-hearted/responsible guy, he might respond dutifully to this predicament, by “doing the honorable thing” and marrying. But inherent in this choice are substantial risks, as regardless of how attached he is to this woman, he’ll always feel a level of resentment (whether he admits it or not) throughout the course of their relationship. In truth, his choice to have a child has been stolen from him, and whether or not he feels ready or equipped to be a parent, he must accommodate this immense life change. If he musters the courage to express his concerns and feelings, he risks being shamed with accusations of not loving his partner enough to "really commit" to her.

An emotional commitment to a woman and a commitment to fatherhood are two distinctly separate issues! Two wrongs don't make a right, and sharing a child with someone, can be a more lenient sentence than serving life with a woman you don't really want to be with, and cannot trust. Starting marriage with a baby on-board, means the honeymoon's over. There are unfathomable adjustments--including significant changes in a couple’s sexual dynamic that can put tremendous strain on a new/developing relationship, and sour it very quickly. After the baby's born--or even during pregnancy, a man’s buried resentments often surface, and he may act-out these repressed feelings by having affairs, or exiting this relationship emotionally or physically. Men who've been trapped into fatherhood are forced to somehow reconcile their inner conflicts surrounding this--and many face character assassination for infidelities, or leaving at the "worst possible time."

Pregnancy entrapment doesn't only happen with single women, by the way. Plenty of men have been kept from leaving highly conflictual marriages when their partner has "accidentally" conceived. The Borderline has a sixth sense about when you've got one foot out the door--and may use this sly tactic to keep you from moving toward divorce! Whether married or not, the choice to have a child should always be agreed upon by both, or it's not a partnership.

THINK THE 'OTHER WOMAN' IS REALLY YOUR DREAMGIRL??

A borderline disordered female can be prone to having romantic liaisons with married or attached men. These relationships provide thrilling intensity, by prompting dramatic sensations of longing/yearning for someone who's just beyond her grasp. This type of romance perfectly fits her emotional profile; it allows her to seduce you and feel close, without triggering her attachment fears--and might even echo girlhood experiences of growing up with a dad who indulged in extramarital affairs that kept him away from home, and her. In a sense, being the "other woman" strangely compensates for childhood deficits in appropriate paternal affection, and gratifies her need to be the most alluring, compelling focus in a man's life. Once this need is satisfied, a Borderline's immediate abandonment concerns are eased--but when a man leaves his existing relationship and actually becomes available, he loses his value (and appeal) to her. For this kind of woman, it's all about The Chase. A Borderline's sense of Self is predicated on her ability to manipulate your desire and emotions; when a seduction challenge comes to an end, so does her capacity to reinvigorate self-esteem--at least until the next elusive lover is found.

If you're playing with a married woman, pay close attention to how she talks about her husband and their relationship. She might tell you he's abusive, cold or narcissistic, and that they haven't had sex in years. I doubt you'll believe me, but regardless of this connection you share, there's a very good chance she'll be saying the same things to another guy one day, about you! You may feel sad or angry she's had to endure such a "loveless/passionless" marriage, and you'll do anything to give her comfort, and support her efforts to get free; after all, you've been wanting her to be yours--but this is when your dynamic will change! Do you remember the film, Body Heat? Think of Kathleen Turner's character, Maddie as an example of a coupled Borderline.

No reasonably sane woman will abandon her children, or expect you to leave yours! If she's leaving a marriage, that's one thing--if she's leaving her kids behind, that's quite another. Think of it this way; if she can walk away from her own child, how secure do you think you'll be in this relationship??

AS THE TWIG IS BENT, SO GROWS THE TREE.

A Borderline may have learned early in life, that sex affords her the sense of mastery and control she desperately seeks--but given inherent attachment difficulties, she could be more inclined to use you, than love you. There may well have been sexual abuse or incest in her background, which is often not remembered--but fuels her fascination with men who are already involved with, or married to another. She could easily have grown up being the object of her mother's jealousy, which inhibited genuine parental concern for her safety and well-being, and as a child she may have repeatedly heard; "If you hadn't been born, my life would have been much better!" It's incredibly sad and shocking to even imagine that a Borderline's mother could ignore or sanction her daughter's sexual abuse, to keep a spouse/partner closer to home. Substantial lapses in childhood memory are frequently attributed to dissociative episodes that occurred during physical/emotional violations. The Borderline Mother is often envious of her child's achievements or successes, and may be flirtatious/seductive with her daughter's romantic interests. She may have no compunctions whatsoever about stealing boyfriends/lovers from her teenage or adult child. The Borderline's inability to forge a trusting bond with Mother, derails her capacity to trust you (or anyone else).

A variety of betrayals in childhood have deeply fractured a Borderline's core, and psychic trauma from this period cannot help but seriously impact all adult relationship endeavors. A tough, self-reliant demeanor could initially mask her fragility--but at some point, you may still be compelled to rescue her financially, sexually or emotionally; suicide threats and/or attempts are not uncommon, especially when Borderline Waif features are present. Eating disorders can be a part of this picture, and are driven by her need to exert control over an existence that feels like it has none. During adolescence or early adulthood, she may have started cutting or burning herself to escape emotional anguish; numerous body scars, piercings or tattoos are frequently vestiges of a high threshold for, or addiction to pain. This woman's limited capacity for empathy and impulse control leaves you vulnerable to physical attack, as well as psychological and emotional abuse.

Are you wondering if a Borderline can be a good mother? She might attain a modicum of personal healing during her motherhood experience--but the way she treats you (and the pets), will be much like how she'll treat her children. They can grow up feeling confused, tormented and insecure. If a BPD mother enmeshes her child, he'll be likely to develop attachment/engulfment issues, narcissistic features and pathological perfectionism. In short, a Borderline's attachment difficulties and narcissism cannot help but influence her capacity to form healthy bonds, even with her kids--which leaves them impaired.

SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE

As the novelty or intensity of a new relationship starts to settle and you've begun orchestrating a committed life together, a Borderline still needs to control the emotional climate between you. This can have her picking fights or acting-out her feelings (passive-aggressively), rather than speaking with you about them. Once you've sensed something's troubling her, she might respond to your attempts to discover what that is, by replying "nothing," or bringing up problems from ages ago--even if previously resolved. Avoidant maneuvers support emotional cut-off and interrupt any closeness you may have gained, reinforcing the chasm between you. When authentic intimacy is derailed, her false-self has opportunity to reseduce you after each episode of turbulence. In an ongoing relationship where she cannot win you over or steal you from another's arms, fighting with you creates the 'distance' she needs, to mollify internal tension surrounding attachment. Want to see this aspect of borderline behavior in action? Rent HBO's TELL ME YOU LOVE ME.

Males who allow themselves to believe that marrying a woman will finally put an end to her constant "nagging" and pressure, are sorely disappointed in the aftermath of their nuptials. While the topic of her discontent changes, the pattern of conflict does not! Borderlines often approach the subject of marriage prematurely; when there's been limited opportunity to build real trust, your self-preservation instincts should be on full alert. Even if you're nuts about this woman, you'll start feeling uneasy--and this is completely natural. You may require a bit of time alone, so you can come to terms with these conversations and what they might mean to you, but this could set off a firestorm. Beware that this woman could use marriage as the deal-breaker in your relationship, and wield it as an ultimatum--especially if she thinks you're slipping away, or she's becoming interested in another.

Whether your Borderline thinks that you're failing to meet her expectations professionally, emotionally and/or sexually, her diminishing comments and frequent haranguing can have you questioning your self-worth. You might be willing to endure this emotional abuse, in order to maintain the bond you share with her, or your child/children--but the cost to your overall health can be considerable! If you decide to save yourself and leave, her attempts to entice you back might become pitifully desperate/hysterical--she could even threaten to KILL herself, if you don't return! This is the ultimate emotional blackmail, which could be used to influence your behavior--but resist feeling flattered. These frantic measures are very primitive reflexes that are being triggered by overwhelming needs, which have nothing to do with you! If your chaos reaches this extent, urge her to see a mental health professional.

Be aware that during a breakup or separation, your absence may force her to confront sensations of emptiness and/or self-loathing, and this can happen within a very short period. She'll usually re-engage when this psychic pain becomes unbearable, or she's wanting/needing something from you--but this is always according to her terms and timing. Typically, the more you try to bridge this gap, the longer you'll have to wait for any contact! You should anticipate that during (relatively brief) episodes of reconnection or reunion, she’ll have shifted back to her ‘adoring’ behavior (making you wonder why the heck you left in the first place!), until your next minor infraction sets her off again, and this cycle repeats. There's often no reference to the previous upset, for which you will feel grateful--but more confused. You're not weak, you've simply been manipulated by a highly skilled, experienced actress.

Perhaps not too surprising, many of these women are celebrities who are almost constantly in the public eye. They thrive on media attention, because it feeds/relieves their core emptiness, which is the function of any addiction. For some, magnanimous/charitable gestures have brought them worldwide acclaim, and gratified their unquenchable need for adulation. But even when press coverage is prompted by 'negative' circumstances, the details of this exposure are considerably less important to a Borderline, than keeping her image in the forefront of your mind! In essence, The Media has become her primary lover, and if/when attention from this relationship wanes, she can literally feel unworthy and invisible. These extremely difficult sensations are reminiscent of childhood abandonment despair, that's impossible to tolerate. Compulsions to self-medicate during these episodes can prompt drug and/or alcohol abuse, overeating, self-mutilation, shopping sprees, sexual affairs, etc. Along these same lines, Borderlines are notorious for using rebound relationships to deflect their pain. You could be agonizing over how she's managed to replace you so quickly and easily, but it's pretty common for a woman with borderline traits to begin a new romance, before she lets go of you! Don't expect her to admit to this--she never will.

AM I CRAZY, OR IS IT HOT AND COLD IN HERE?

Given that most Borderlines are exceptionally bright, they're usually capable of convincing you that it's your fault or shortcoming, which has ruptured the relationship. You may be tempted to buy into this, even when overwhelming evidence is stacked against her argument, and you're unequivocally certain she's wrong. Her brilliant (but twisted) logic and verbal dexterity can distort facts and details, to where her perceptions actually make sense to you, even if her statements are completely contradictory from one day to the next! You might doubt yourself at these times, and begin questioning if you're going crazy. These sensations are directly related to spending time with someone whose psychic/emotional health is (at best) precariously balanced.

There are no ‘grey areas' or middle-ground perspectives with these women. Within the lexicon of borderline pathology, 'splitting' is a commonly used clinical term that describes their pattern of alternating between idealizing or devaluing perceptions and behaviors. Borderline psyches are very delicate; they’re incapable of maintaining a sense of you as a whole individual who may have shortcomings, but who's basically loving and good. In their world, events and people are perceived as black or white (all good or all bad), so they either love you or hate you. You might spend a lot of time and energy trying to get back into a Borderline’s good graces by making promises you can’t necessarily keep--but none of this will matter anyway, the next time she decides to punish you for a perceived transgression, by stepping away.

You could assume that if you “tried a little harder” to love or please her, the desirable facets you've glimpsed at various times will be more consistently available to you. They won’t. In truth, the closer you get, the more she's compelled to push you away! The diagnostic term, “Borderline” derives from the expression 'borderline crazy,' and describes someone who's dangerously near the edge of psychosis. Ever tried to help her view an issue rationally, and felt like you just can't win? You're attempting to reason with someone whose emotional age is about three years old. Don't expect this to change.

Borderlines can leave solid, long-term attachments/marriages very suddenly. You'll be feeling shocked and bewildered by this--particularly when she cites frustrations or problems you were never made aware of, to justify her abrupt departure. You might vacillate between numbness and tormenting confusion, but what's even worse, is she'll have you thinking you're responsible for this outcome! When you've done virtually everything to keep her satisfied and happy throughout this relationship (which has included putting your personal needs and desires aside to accommodate hers), you're left only with a sense of sheer exhaustion, longing and deep betrayal. Are you getting angry yet??

Her extreme mood lability could have been diagnosed as a Bipolar Disorder. You might presume that this is the source of her erratic behaviors--but this mood disorder may be only half of a dual diagnosis, that includes Borderline Personality Disorder. Personality disorder traits are difficult to identify during a psychiatric evaluation, as they're substantially more complex than clinical issues--and acting-out behaviors typically show up after you're perceived to be their emotional mainstay. Mood regulating medications can help alleviate some instability, but this is seldom just a chemical imbalance.

DIVIDE, CONQUER AND CONTROL

A Borderline typically feels threatened by meaningful connections you have with others. She could be jealous of the closeness you share with your kids, your family, your friends, your therapist, your hairdresser, etc., as these (trusted) relationships trigger deeply held abandonment concerns. Whether these feelings are stated or not, you'll sense a level of tension that signals her discomfort. The ugly reality is, if she's successful in separating you from sources that are nourishing and supportive, her power over you is amplified. The Borderline mother often exerts this kind of influence over her children's associations as well, even to the extent of pitting them against each other, and/or driving a wedge between them and their father. A Borderline's child may develop emotionally crippling enmeshment issues (inability to discern and separate feelings/needs belonging either to the parent or the Self), for he/she grows up feeling responsible for the mother's moods and survival.

STAYING TOO LONG AT THE FAIR

A wife with borderline features might intensely focus on her children (or yours from a prior marriage). Her devoted attention to them and their needs could appear wholesome and healthy--but may actually provide convenient excuses for avoiding closeness and connection with you! If you're patiently awaiting the day when your children are grown, and hoping to share more sexual/emotional intimacy when the nest is finally empty, this is a fantasy that may never be realized. It's very common in fact, for a couple's conflicts to escalate during this time, due to fewer "distractions."

It takes a fair amount of courage/fortitude to leave a Borderline, and scores of men never do. Your motivation might finally come from recognizing that this 'prize' isn't worth the 'price' you're paying to remain. Some men develop a secret plan for their escape, in response to many years of having to fear their partner's emotional and/or physical volatility. This is certainly not the best or most advisable way to exit this relationship, but the sad reality is, it could be your safest option.

Unfortunately, your torment may continue in the aftermath of this coupling, as her sense of self-worth is generally tied to remaining connected; this can take the form of solicitous contact after numerous months or years. She may be flirtatious with you even after you've become involved with another, which speaks to her lack of boundaries. Disappointment or dissatisfaction with her current affair can trigger phone calls or unplanned/impromptu visits with you. If you've gotten a lot of 'hang-ups' on your answering machine or voicemail, these could be the unrestrained, juvenile impulses of someone who's underdeveloped. At some point, you'll probably have to set firm limits and parameters with this woman concerning acceptable behaviors (as you would with a small child), as she's incapable of discerning them for herself.

Boundary issues typically attract intense media exposure, because of their sensationalistic or bizarre nature. Headline stories about women or men engaging in self-sabotaging/foolish behaviors at great risk to their personal and professional lives, are frequently generated by borderline disordered individuals. Whether we're hearing of teachers having sexual relations with their students or a wife severing her husband's genitals, we're observing a lack of impulse control that's associated with borderline pathology. Are you feeling incredulous or shocked by incidents reported in the news?? You're likely hearing about the repercussions of someone living with this disorder.

HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A BORDERLINE SCORNED.

In the aftermath of a love affair or marriage, her statements to you may be cleverly disguised as benign (or even caring), but you could experience them as castrating, just the same. Make no mistake, this is part of her vindictive nature at work, and it's intentional. It really doesn't matter who left whom, your Borderline is furious you've 'abandoned' her, and may derive more satisfaction from getting back at you, than getting you back! She could retaliate with favorable comments about a new love (whether true or not), to fortify her stance that it's "all your fault" this relationship failed. She's invested in having you think that, "no other man would disappoint (her) in the ways you have, nor even imagine letting go of such a trophy!" While her words may be shaming, you could still be inclined to believe you need her back, despite the difficulties you've struggled with before. She's very smart; she knows if she challenges your manhood and makes you feel guilty/bad enough about yourself, you'll be compelled to try and make it right (if only to salvage your poor, trampled ego).

Your trophy wife/girlfriend is magnificent. She could have the most exquisite body and face you've ever had the pleasure of being with--which makes the notion of walking away, inconceivable. This woman's physical beauty alone, can heighten your sexual enthusiasm and erotic responses, to where you fear you'll never be able to replicate these intense sensations with another. This presents an understandable quandary, but there's often a deeper issue; for the first time, you may have finally come to trust that you're worthy of such a treasure, which is the insidious hook that's kept you ensnared beyond all instinct and reason, and prevents you from moving on.

You might feel excruciating shame and regret, as your Borderline throws herself into a rebound relationship, and leaves you behind. Your obsessive response to this, is acutely tied to self-worth issues you've been battling and compensating for, since childhood. Whether these boyhood difficulties are consciously held or not, they've actually enabled this woman to control and manipulate your self-image throughout this entire relationship. While this tormenting pain you're feeling is (in part) due to the scabs being torn off some early esteem wounds, you must try to remember; the exact same patterns that you wrestled with during this relationship, will be repeated with other suitors. In other words, this broken doll you discarded, will not miraculously become normal/well with some other guy who pulls her out of the dumpster! Her disturbing, disruptive patterns are associated with deeply entrenched survival mechanisms. Without skilled intervention, she just can't help herself.

You'll mostly remember the good times, even though you've taken some heavy hits to your self-esteem, and the bruising hasn't completely healed--but a word of caution is imperative here: After a significant break-up, any (unclothed) reunion puts you at serious risk for entrapment, no matter what she says to the contrary! She's now painfully aware you're capable of leaving, and may do whatever's necessary to insure that this never happens again. You've managed to dodge a bullet. Try not to tempt fate.

FATHERHOOD, DANGEROUS LIAISONS AND MOVING FORWARD

If you're divorced and share children together, it's virtually impossible to avoid some level of contact, but it often feels punishing or toxic. This type of woman will try to wound you in the most damaging and sadistic ways imaginable, which frequently means turning your children against you. If she makes them think she's been victimized by your "brutal, volatile or abusive" nature (and she's a good actress, remember?), she'll inspire their sympathy and protection. Over time, they may literally be programmed to distrust and despise you. Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is very common among Borderline mothers, but it's a tragic, no-win situation for all concerned. Your ex's consistent brainwashing methods compromise your child's capacity to build self-esteem, and forge solid/balanced relationships in adulthood. PAS inhibits children's ability to maintain healthy perceptions of the alienated parent as loving and good (which is damaging enough)--but on far deeper levels, it instills shame and self-loathing they may struggle with the rest of their lives, especially for any father's son; "If my Dad's bad, then so am I."

The more your ex-wife erodes the connection between you and your children, the more she (and they) may vilify you for "neglecting" them. Under these conditions, you could feel damned if you see them, and damned if you don't! If you're a man who's felt hopelessly trapped in the frustration and pain this kind of situation invokes, your rage is completely understandable.

This material is not intended to suggest that Borderlines or those with BPD traits are bad people; many have extraordinary attributes and qualities that keep men from surrendering these relationships. But a borderline disordered woman may be badly damaged, due to unresolved childhood wounds; it is this damage that influences/inhibits interactions and activities like your sex life (particularly after marriage), and deters healthy, harmonious unions. It's crucial you realize, that many of these individuals have survived emotional traumas and setbacks that fostered a sense of desperation--and desperate people do desperate things (just ask any man who's been stalked by one!). In the 1987 film, Fatal Attraction, Michael Douglas portrays a married man who's initially captivated, then tormented by a Borderline (Glenn Close's character), and you should see this movie, or view it again. Any woman with borderline features can destroy your livelihood, and turn your world upside-down. One who's diagnosable with Borderline Personality Disorder is capable of heinous crimes, which may include murdering her own children, or you.

Borderline women are often attracted to narcissistic men, and vice-versa. The reasons for this are numerous--but in terms of the core difficulties that both have sustained, these personality dynamics allow each partner to side-step genuine intimacy, for which they are equally ill-equipped. A female with borderline traits has the remarkable ability to perfectly mirror her partner's attributes (and fuel his grandiosity), without invoking his engulfment fears. Her intermittent loving interactions are offset by distancing behaviors. These alternating patterns draw him close (but not too close), and nearly always leave him wanting more; this of course, gratifies her need to manipulate his desire, and accommodates his need to maintain 'safe' emotional proximity.

If you've ever fallen in love with a Borderline, you could come away from this experience having lost your trust in women--but also, in yourself. In my view, this is the most tragic consequence of these relationships. Everything you've grown up believing you should want in a female, has come into question during the time it has taken you to survive and recover from, this emotionally wrenching affair. Along similar lines of a post-traumatic stress reaction, you're no longer able to feel confident that your perceptions and instincts will serve and protect you. In short, you're left with considerable scars--and while your head might tell you that not all women are going to wreak such havoc, your heart is never again quite sure. Later on in life, you might be willing to take another risk, but hurtful memories start to replay each time you contemplate loving again--and you could talk yourself out of it, before you've even begun. Part of this pain that's remaining is primitive, meaning it touches on very old/deep layers within you. Why else would you have such difficulty getting close to someone? More than a few men have told me, they've realized that they married their mother; relational dynamics with a borderline wife or girlfriend paralleled their earliest frustrations, and some of her traits seemed strangely familiar, or like "coming home."

Borderline Personality Disorder is not a gender specific issue. This problem is related to attachment difficulties between a mother and her infant, which lay the groundwork for unstable relationship patterns in adult females and males. In men, this disturbance generally presents as narcissism, but the male Borderline can alternate between a Dr. Jekyll - Mr. Hyde temperament, and is susceptible to acquiring a Casanova Complex. This man has similar traits described above; women may find his uniquely open nature and candid self-revelations irresistible--but like his female counterpart, he shuts down as soon as he senses you're His! Casanova typically engages in a pattern of extramarital or adulterous affairs if he's coupled--and if he's single, there's an ongoing series of seductions or brief love 'em and leave 'em encounters. This control issue stems from emotional deficits in boyhood, that spawned a deep distrust of women; he may be openly misogynistic, or secretly despise them.

This is a complex disorder that can take a considerable amount of time to dismantle or repair, even with specialized therapeutic intervention. You are not equipped to heal your woman, but if she's open/receptive to sensitive, ongoing psychodynamic treatment, your love and patience can be part of her reparative process. Does it seem like you're mostly drawn to dysfunctional or dangerous women? Issues that have driven these disappointing choices can be resolved. You can expect to gain important tools and essential insights in this process, that will help you build healthier, more gratifying relationships.

 

If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod this app will let you hear this material; http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/web-reader-text-to-speech/id320808874?mt=8

This was the very first piece I wrote about Borderlines, and I'd truly never intended to write anything additional about this topic. My other BPD articles were inspired by a virtual avalanche of people who related to this material, and contacted me for help to recover.

Click here, to determine if you're in an abusive relationship!

Phone sessions are available. If you're wrestling with a difficult relationship or trying to recover from one, or your fraternity/group wants me to speak on this topic, call me in L.A. (323) 936-3637 or N.Y. (646) 415-9369. Access my Borderline Personality Forums to read others' experiences with BPD.

Check these out:

**NEW** BORDERLINE PERFECT

COULD MY BPD LOVER BE RIGHT ABOUT ME??

'TILL DEATH DO US PART - BPD and The Marriage Crucible

HAVEN'T WE MET BEFORE? The Borderline/Narcissist Couple

For women; learn about the borderline male.

www.RightHealth.com has linked to my BPD male article and this one, under "top websites" for Borderline Disorder.

Glenn Sacks is a talk radio host who champions men's and father's rights. Dr. Stephen Johnson (of The Men's Center) and I discussed Dangerous Women & Fatal Attractions during the last half of Glenn's radio broadcast on 1/18/04. To listen to that show, you can Google Shari Schreiber and locate this link pretty easily, or go to Glenn's website; www.HisSide.com and look up the (archived) broadcast that aired on that date.

Recommended reading: Understanding The Borderline Mother; Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable and Volatile Relationship, by Christine Ann Lawson, PhD. Lawson's book delineates four Borderline sub-types; the Waif, Queen, Witch and Hermit. Each type basically has a central or primary temperament, but may also have combined features. The Waif will seem helpless/fragile, the Queen is demanding/controlling/envious, the Witch is rageful/sadistic, and the Hermit is fearful/reclusive.

You may phone for assistance, but I do not offer online/written therapy. Only emails under 150 words are read, due to time constraints. Please be clear/concise, and expect a straight answer within fourteen days.

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