traits can cause serious relationship difficulties, and my site
currently houses 23
articles on this topic. These letters were originally posted
to my advice Forum,
and I hope they'll be helpful to you. Avoid dangerous
entrapment; learn about BPD females! Married
with kids? Is she a needy Waif?
Just been dumped? Read
this! How to
Leave a Borderline. Are
you Hurting? Learn about
Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with BPD. I spent about five
years in DBT, and after that was accepted to seminary and moved
to Kenya, Africa to be a hospital chaplain. I agree with you in
the sense that people with BPD need more than DBT. I was blessed
in the sense that my healing journey was complemented with much
"heart healing" with amazing women willing to help. However,
I also feel that your articles on BPD characterize all people with
BPD as dangerous individuals. Even in the throngs of my symptoms,
I could never kill anyone, nor did I ever have the desire to. I
feel it would be better if you not classify all people with BPD
in this light, as the stigma in and of itself for people with BPD
is terrifically brutal. Along with the disorder itself, this stigma
is also a contributing factor for the difficulty folks with BPD
have in creating meaningful relationships. Thank you for your consideration.
Not ALL my articles (by a long-shot) characterize people with BPD
as "dangerous," and in fact most of them speak to the
pathology in individuals who attach to them, so there's a solid
balance of insight provided about these relationship dynamics. Perhaps
you should do more reading, dear... start here.
As for creating meaningful bonds, Borderlines can't manage
that until they do the core trauma work it takes to get
I'll keep this short. Your website and insights are spot on.
I'm just recovering from a 27 month affair with a BPD woman. I feel
so traumatized, but I'm beginning to heal, thanks in part to your
website. I'm sorry that there is bad blood between BPD Family site
and yourself. I put a link up a couple of times to your site saying
how wonderful and insightful I thought you were. I got messages
from administrators, and my posts were deleted. I got from them
a link to a long thread about "outside and unconventional"
sources of information. It's obvious to me that through your work
experiences, you can not only talk the talk, you can walk the walk.
The knowledge you display obviously did not come from academia.
Keep doing what you're doing!
You're welcome. Now and then, the phrase "ignorance is bliss"
seems fitting. I'm saddened that a blog site which is intended to
help and support people, takes such a dim view of web materials
that obviously do just that.
I see that you take a dim view of Borderlines on your site and
add to the growing stigma that they're 'bad' people. Why do you
take this stance? It seems you're doing more harm than good.
Honestly, my BPD materials were initially intended to help people
trying to recover from these injurious relationships. I
had never planned to write anything about this disorder beyond my
first piece, as GettinBetter.com was never intended
to be a 'BPD site.' I do not take a "dim view" of Borderlines,
but I cannot sanction the havoc and distruction they wreak in other's
lives. I have worked with many
borderline disordered individuals, and those who are highly
motivated to get well with my help, do. [More letters
like this, can be found here.]
What happens if you snap at a Borderline? Is it wrong to lose
The Borderline has poor impulse control, and many will 'push' you
until they get a reaction. Responding to them with passivity
and betraying your own feelings is not a workable solution, but
physical volatility is never an acceptable option. Unresolved disappointment,
hurt and rage from childhood neglect and abuse causes those difficult
feelings to be transferred onto You. You're basically the more convenient
target for his/her long-held anger and despair, but there's no good
reason why you should tolerate it.
Do Borderlines just walk away?
No . . . sometimes they run!
Hello Shari, first off, it is a pleasure to write to you. I have
read all of your articles and find you completely right-on about
the BPD personality. I am BPD (female), was diagnosed 20-some years
ago. I do not dispute anything you say about BPD, how we relate
to others, or how we interact. In defense of BPD however, I MUST
make this comment: When the BPD female (only speaking from the female
perspective here) meets a man, we are enthralled by him and his
strength. He's a pillar of strength to us! In a short time, he becomes
so fragile, needy, apologetic and someone we DID NOT intend to have
in our lives. We rely on his strength, and it appears to go away
so soon. Perhaps "this" is the reason we lose all interest
right away... they are not who we perceived them to be, either.
It cannot be ALL of our fault for the failure of these relationships
and WE strive to get the person back we *thought* we had met.
I see that yours is not a question at all... but, thanks for your
feedback. I'm pretty sure I've (at least) alluded to the dynamic
you've described in this
article, but I doubt it's covered as distinctly as you've illustrated,
and perhaps this issue is more about Your personal preferences,
than being applicable for all Borderlines. In a heterosexual relationship,
only one partner can wear the male genitals, and perhaps
that's always prompted a power struggle for you. If you're with
a (whole) man who has a degree of sensitivity and humanity, he's
not "strong enough" for you~ whereas a gruff, abusive
partner may be a more enthralling fit, and inhibit your ability
to experience genuine closeness and/or intimacy. Your definition
of 'strength' might be distorted. Maybe penis envy is the issue,
and you'll get your own set of testicles in the next life,
and all will be well and right in your world.
What do you think of EFT (emotional freedom techniques) for
borderlines or non-borderlines?
I like the concept and I'd like to promote it,
but managing or getting rid of feelings is what most of
my clients have done their entire life (in one way or another).
How could EFT be an effective treatment modality, when poor self-worth,
passive aggression, codependency, attachment fears, unresolved rage
and cognitive distortion keep messing up one's ability to forge
healthy relationships? Integrated Recovery helps people heal
and grow emotionally, so that relational issues (with
Self and others) are resolved.
First of all, THANK YOU . . . A few months ago I started seeing
a psychologist after a 4 1/2 year relationship with a lady who I
now know is a borderline. After much talk with my therapist regarding
my past relationship he suggested the possibility of BPD in regards
to my ex. He also suggested some books for me to read about BPD,
which I have read regarding this disorder. And then there was your
material I stumbled across last night. I just wanted to say you
are a GREAT writer and PLEASE write a book about all the information
you have regarding BPD. You have completely articulated
EVERYTHING I have lived through in my experience with my ex who
has BPD. You have given me more clarity on this subject than any
other book, article or even 3 months of therapy have given me. I
just wanted to tell you that you have my utmost respect for what
you do, and you have silently helped me understand this disorder
more than any book or therapist! I sincerely wish you the best in
your future AND PLEASE WRITE A BOOK ON BPD. God bless you and THANK
YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!
Hope to get the books underway this year, and you're welcome. [More
letters like this can be found here.]
Ms. Schreiber, our third son was adopted at birth. His BPD became
more and more evident around the age of 12, and by age 15 it was
clear. My point to you is that he was brought up by parents that
were successful in life, and raised two boys with no problems. There
was absolutely no lack of Love, Care and a sincere desire to get
him help. His birth mother had 4 girls and 1 boy with 3-4 fathers.
Several years after the adoption she was put on 10 years probation.
His birth father's in prison for the 3rd time to date. To be brief,
I would ask that you reconsider your thoughts on the early years
of abuse and neglect, as I believe it's clear that in my son's case
it's entirely genealogical, aggravated by issues of being given
up at birth. I think your information to women (in
your article) is mostly spot on. But for the sake of understanding
some of the causes of BPD better, you should look into more recent
research on this topic.
like my materials have struck a nerve with you (or your wife), and
created some discomfort. Please feel free to access any other information
on the web that more closely resonates with your personal views--and
that you find more palatable than mine. You appear to 'have it all
figured out,' and I applaud your curiosity in context of learning
about your son--but you must remain discerning about believing what
you read. Most people who research or write about BPD have NEVER
worked with those who suffer from it. This is not
a genetically inherited issue (as can often be the case with neurological
or mood disorders). Our earliest damage can be catalyzed by more
subtle influences, rather than by acute abuse or neglect.
Often, natal abandonment trauma for adoptees is only the first wounding
(in a series) that occurs. This doesn't happen ONLY with babies
who are adopted, incidentally. Many of the Borderlines I've treated
(whether adoptees or not), were raised by parents with narcissistic
traits who've wanted a child for the purpose of filling some sort
of personal void. In short, having or adding another baby
is often more about a female's desire to mitigate her own feelings
of emptiness and/or lack of purpose, than her actual capacity to
bond symbiotically with an infant and meet His/Her needs. Nadya
Sulemon, 'The Octomom' is a quintessential example of such a mother.
You can read more about this type of parent and early trauma, which
is the core of Borderline Personality Disorder
within this article.
Indeed, these issues can exacerbate BPD susceptibility. In addition,
my bipolar piece
speaks to how an infant's brain continues to develop long
past birth, which can (also) account for mood disorders. Over these
past two decades, I've worked with a significant number of clients
who struggled with both Bipolar Disorder and BPD concurrently. Many
can recover, once they get to the root cause of their emotional
difficulties, and self-worth is restored.
I broke away from a Borderline several weeks ago, and just got
a text from her asking me how I'm doing. I still struggle with having
let go of that woman, even though she used me and even cheated on
me! I want to pretend I'm fine and not still hurting. I'd like to
come off like none of what happened matters to me, but I'm not sure
what to send back. Can you help?
Yes. Do absolutely nothing. No reply sends the
loudest message that you have moved on, and she doesn't
matter to you (even if she still does). A Borderline will try to
'hoover' you back in to use you again for self-validation,
favors, etc., no matter how much time has elapsed. Stay strong,
and be the exception among all her past lovers, who have
kept that door open hoping to get back in her box. Stay with
no contact! You'll stand out as the one guy in her whole world
who's had enough self-respect to have said, 'No Thanks' to her!
Dear Shari, I came across your website the other day and it
has been very insightful. I say this as a sufferer of Borderline
Personality Disorder as well. One reason I came upon your page was
to see how my behavior has been affecting my boyfriend and the emotional
damage I have caused him. Of course he has understandably reached
a breaking point and wants to draw the line. I hope he comes across
your website so he can get some help in healing from all this. I
really do want him to be happy again. I would like to thank you
for making me realize what I've been doing. I will be chasing up
my counseling in the new year. I have spent so long blaming others
and self-destructing, that it's time to sort it out. Again, thank
A. You're welcome,
and best of luck with getting well. As for your boyfriend finding
the help he needs, sounds like you'll just be leaving that
Q. Oh my
God. You have finally put a name to the madness
I've been facing in my relationship. Word for word, you've described
what I've experienced, and it's uncanny how accurate
your articles are! I cannot begin to guess how you could know this
stuff about my dynamic with my soon to be ex, but I'm utterly amazed.
I am now able to see that my childhood issues have 'perfectly'
lined up with hers, and it helps me take some much needed steps
to move on. THANKS!!!
Congratulations! And yes indeed, we are drawn to people who match
our level of emotional development.
I just wanted to let you know that I am a borderline, and I found
your articles to be exactly right. I even sent them to my parents
and psychiatrist to let them have more insight on what I'm dealing
with. Thank you for your wonderful explanations!
My pleasure. Good luck to you!
Good grief woman, you might just be the most brilliant person
I've ever met! Not only have you helped me tremendously
with your BPD articles, in terms of understanding my ex-GF--but
to balance it out, you've helped me see behind the curtain of my
own psyche, as to how and why
I was drawn into this brand of torment, and given me ways to heal.
I cannot thank you enough!!!
You're welcome. Breaking off from a toxic/painful relationship is
the easy part. Repairing archaic
wounds to your sense of Self, so you're not tempted to repeat
this painful process ever again, is harder.
I have BPD and have been doing a lot of reading about it lately,
and I came across your informative articles. I was diagnosed with
BPD in 1996 but have not done any work around it, and now I am getting
married and I am highly motivated to work on stuff. I have a question.
You said something interesting; "sexual/seductive UNTIL marriage"...what
does that mean? It's interesting because I was sexual/seductive
to the men before my last two marriages, but during marriage, I
wasn't interested--it was boring, had no sex drive. It's like I
became asexual! I need to find out what this is! Sometimes during
sex with both my ex and now current fiance, I cry during sex. I
do have a strong sex drive and enjoy seducing now, hope that won't
change... concerned. I am starting DBT in a few weeks!
standard. Borderlines are ONLY interested in The Chase... not
the capture. Closeness is threatening, and attachment is avoided
at any cost.
Read my 21 BPD articles for more insight, then seriously consider
informing your third husband to be, about your past. DBT can't resolve
Shari, why would a man tell you he sabotages his relationships?
He very likely has Borderline
Personality Disorder traits, and he's warning you about what's
up-ahead in this relationship (so you can't blame him later on,
for your broken heart). Don't walk... RUN away from this guy!
My GF (a new mother) won't leave her baby alone. Is this normal?
It's very healthy and important for an infant to receive lots
of touching, affection and nurturant attention/care from the mother--but
it sounds as if you're feeling neglected (perhaps You missed-out
on these vital supplies as a baby). Whether this is your child or
not, there could be numerous reasons (including hormonal) why your
GF is responding far more to the needs
of her baby, than to yours.
Help! My kid's cut me out of his life, and nothing I do or say changes
My experience, is that one doesn't 'divorce' a parent, unless
they perceive that relationship to be emotionally undermining and
highly toxic. Sounds like you'd benefit from looking deeply into
yourself, to determine where you've treated him abusively and betrayed
his trust. Your heartfelt apology is likely in order, but this cumulative
damage may be too vast, for him to forgive it.
Dear Shari, I just want to say thank you. I read your article this
morning and finally, for the first time I now have all of the answers
and a far deeper understanding of what I have been through over
the last 12 months. I am seven weeks out of a relationship with
a BPD. I'm simply astonished at the parallels between
your article and my own experience. I hadn't even heard of BPD before
my relationship ended! Only after weeks of reading and rigorous
searching for answers, have I come to understand what happened to
me. Saving your Life
after Loving a Borderline is by far the most
thorough, far reaching and explorative of pieces I have
read. It's also beautifully written. Thank you from the bottom of
my heart, and for edging me ever closer to much needed closure.
With deep gratitude from the UK. P.S. 'No Contact' is the best possible
action for recovery. I've used it for four weeks now. It's the only
My pleasure, and be sure to study this
piece, to help you understand why and how you were drawn to
Can a woman manipulate a BPD man to get what she wants in life?
Perhaps, but only a woman with borderline traits would ask
Shari, thank you so much for your profoundly insightful information.
I'm a recovering alcoholic and fairly recently broke up with my
BPD girlfriend for (what I intend to be) the last time. The information
you have shared has helped me come to an understanding of what I
need to do for myself so much more clearly, than I could have probably
ever done otherwise. I have read your article on Outgrowing
Addiction and it completely resonates with me, including the
things I disagree with about the AA approach to recovery. Do you
have any more information on learning to properly deal with my feelings
or can you refer me to some information you would suggest that might
be helpful? Again, thank you SO much for your insight.
You're welcome. Make this
article your bible for the next few months, but no written material
(alone) can actually help you heal
from these issues.
Shari, what is their problem over at www.BPDFamily.com??
Now, they're picking apart your
article that they plagiarized, and I just can't
understand the hostile attitude they have about you! You and your
site materials have helped me recover more than anything else I've
read, and all that BPD pain is well behind me. I cannot thank you
Holy cow. Your letter's one of 47 I've received
the last couple of days! I haven't had time to check into this issue
due to work demands, and probably won't. All I can say is, there's
a delicious irony here. Yes, BPDFamily/Facing the Facts did
copy my wording and phrases, yet it appears Skip's still upset that
I withheld permission to use/amend my article several years ago
(long time to hold a grudge). In any event, maybe this poor guy
has unresolved mommy
issues--and I'm just the more convenient target for all that
bottled up rage. To the rest of you who want to bring this to my
attention, fear not; this minor nuisance has as much impact as a
mosquito on a rhino's rump.
How do Borderlines feel after the break-up?
Not like you do--that's for sure. They've developed a remarkable
capacity to check-out or dissociate
from painful feelings, so don't think for a moment, he or she is
struggling with the same, constant anguish that you
Please keep up the great work and taking a firm stand about BPD,
Shari. Skip and BPDFamily just seem jealous that millions are finding
your articles to be invaluable for helping them heal from these
devastating relationships. You rock!
Thanks, dear. Actually, it's complimentary. Folks never take shots
at you, unless/until you've achieved some notoriety--it just comes
with the territory. Dr. Drew's even been a target for that lately.
You know you've arrived, when others are so envious, they feel compelled
to tear ya down. This also occurs (of course) with Borderlines,
when your accomplishments or strengths trigger their insecurities.
Can my BPD husband
Yes, with specialized care he can--but only if he actually wants
to, and is willing to do the hard work it takes to grow, and recover.
Borderline Disorder is not a disease. It's a serious
emotional development issue.
Shari, I wanna make sure I never get involved with another BPD woman
who'll wreck my life like the last one. Can you help me know what
to watch out for?
My articles provide you lots of direction in terms of signs and
symptoms, but this isn't a mental decision process. The Borderline's
captivating charms can sneak up on you. They can seem "normal"
during their seduction phase, and by the time their hurtful behaviors
start whittling away at you, you're in too deep to extract yourself.
Your best line of defense is to do some feeling
work, so that your instincts and intuitions can function as
an inner compass. When you can finally trust Yourself, you'll have
no problem discerning who's trustworthy.
Can you convince a Borderline that you love them?
No. Given that a borderline personality has always lived with core
shame and self-loathing, their retention of this confirmation can't
be sustained. In short, you can't help someone know they're lovable,
when they're convinced that they aren't.
I've been involved with a high-functioning borderline, over the
past year. Can she get better, or do I have to give up on the relationship?
First, read the entry just below this one. Second, most people presume
this term (high-functioning) references the level of conflict, strife
and chaos they'll have to deal with in a close relationship with
one--but it doesn't!
It refers to how well they perform in professional and social arenas.
There are lots of Borderlines who are psychotherapeutic
and medical professionals, but behind closed doors (at home), their
romantic partnerships suffer terribly.
Shari, I'm confused. Your articles mostly suggest that there's little
hope for Borderlines to get well or recover, yet in some places
you state that they can. I need some clarification, please.
Borderlines absolutely can fully recover, with
extensive core-trauma work and a tenacious commitment to growth--but
change is scary for them. Core work is foundational work, which
challenges long-standing defenses, faulty beliefs and superstitions;
BPD sex or substance
addicts have a tougher time surrendering these. Core issues
(not just symptoms) must be addressed, to help Borderlines grow
and become self-reliant and whole, instead of staying broken and
disempowered/dependent. That's what you want for them, right?
I've been drinking too much since the breakup with my Borderline.
Now I think I have an alcohol problem, but I don't know how else
to manage this pain I'm in every day. Help!
Alcohol is never a solution. It's a depressant--so you're actually
making your pain worse by transferring
your addiction from your BPD ex, to booze. I recommend that
you take stock of how you felt about yourself before
this female showed up. Did you feel comfortable hanging-out with
You? Did you fight sensations of emptiness, deadness and self-loathing
before she came along and turned your black and white world to technicolor?
See a doctor for an antidepressant Rx, or try 2 - 6 capsules of
St. John's Wort daily to relieve some of this depression (do not
drink alcohol with either!). Get therapeutic help from someone who
has a solid grasp on BPD concerns and core
Hi Shari, I wish I'd have found your site earlier in my journey,
because I wouldn’t have invested so much of myself in BPD
Family.com (Facing the Facts 'FtF'). I found that site
when I was reeling in emotional pain and suffering, due to my inability
to effectively cope with my mentally ill mom and stepdad. I was
emotionally very vulnerable when I first joined their group. I bought
into their norms, and actually believed their “staff” to be as advertised:
"compassionate and caring people." As I worked through
the process of healing and learned new coping skills, I began to
feel better about myself and the choices I’d made concerning my
two difficult parents. What I failed to realize, is my decisions/choices
apparently weren’t “in-keeping” with the 'FtF approved solutions.'
More precisely, it seems that certain 'influential members' there,
have been deliberately selected because they either can’t--or won’t
EVER contradict the site’s owner! Once I felt emotionally strong
enough to do so, I began to challenge this, hoping to effect positive
change. That was my 2nd mistake--the first being,
joining that site. They then 'closed-ranks' and began to undermine
my participation by citing "childish connection issues,"
deleting my message threads, and being covertly hostile towards
me. Instead of FtF being a "safe healing place,"
my experience was not unlike my early experiences with a severely
dysfunctional family system. Fortunately, I'd recovered enough to
realize the sum of my errors, and their 'invalidation campaign'
played out as I had expected, resulting in my being banned
from further participation. Divergent opinions are evidently threatening
to people in positions of power at FtF. My bad experience on BPDFamily
is now history, and I’ve learned a valuable lesson about relying
on Internet based support groups. Hopefully, sharing my experience
might help others become as selective about joining online support
groups as they are about choosing a therapist. There are
good ones out there--and I’ve since found one. When I looked around
this new group, I realized that most of its member
base is comprised of people like myself, who’ve encountered SERIOUS
difficulties on FtF. Again, thank you for doing what you do.
You're welcome, and I'm sorry to hear of your BPDFamily catastrophe.
It's feedback like yours that motivated me to remove the link to
their site from my BPresources
page. Thanks for this important and generous contribution.
How long does the 'honeymoon phase' with a Borderline last??
Not nearly long enough!
Can two people with borderline traits make it together?
This excerpt says it all: You might come to
surmise that you're both core-damaged, so why can't
this make for a compatible,
successful relationship? Have you ever observed two little children
playing well together--but if there's an upset between them, they
lack conflict resolution skills, and it takes an adult to intercede?
Lack of adult development means conflicts escalate, and there's
no such thing as problem-solving (which is why
there's a need for couples therapists!). Perhaps you've experienced
this with your borderline lover, and either gave-up/gave-in, or
had to break away until all that tension eased--only to return to
find it had blown over with no resolution, and
this cycle just kept repeating.
My dad left when I was about a year old, and I'm sure this is why
I have abandonment issues, and problems in my relationships with
women. I guess I need to know how to overcome this, so it doesn't
keep undermining my romantic life and attempts at happiness?
We learn about how to love ourselves (and others) from the people
who were around when we were growing up! Quit blaming
your father for these issues, and begin looking
at how your mother (or other primary caregiver) related to, and
treated you. That's who has taught you all about emotional
abandonment, and undermined your self-worth! Your dad isn't the
least bit responsible for your difficulties with women,
although I'm sure your mother would disagree.
My girlfriend and I have been together almost 3 years, and she's
gotten pregnant. I want to do the right thing by this child, but
she doesn't want to see me, says she doesn't want me involved in
any way, and that the baby's not mine. I'm really torn about this.
What can I do?
First, believe her--as this may in fact, not be
your child. Get yourself to a good lawyer who will draw up documents
for her to sign, letting you off the hook for any/all future responsibility,
financially and emotionally for this kid. You have no legal rights
to this child, given you're not married to that girl. A Borderline
can be very possessive about a baby. It temporarily fills a huge
emptiness for her, and makes her feel whole/viable for the first
time. She's not about to share those glorious/satisfying sensations
with you--until a few years down the road, when she wants to haul
your ass into court for child support (no matter what she's
stating right now)! You have dodged a bullet. Whatever emotional/moral
struggles you're having, work 'em out in therapy.
Why do I feel a need for revenge against my BPD ex-boyfriend?
Why wouldn't you?? I suspect you've been sitting with strong feelings
of pain, anger and shame given how he treated you, and they're all
appropriate to this circumstance! The biggest obstacle to your moving
past this trauma, is continuing to judge these
emotions as "bad or negative," and making yourself wrong
for feeling them--especially, when parts of you are struggling to
detach from the love you've felt for him. You might be wrestling
with rage and longing for awhile. This is natural--but we can
hasten your recovery.
I read your articles just about once a week. I have to read them
over and over again to get them into my brain a little at a time.
You have said make e mails short. Of all the things I've read about
BPD and loving someone with this disorder, your articles have been
the most help. Why? Because you tell us Non's the
truth. No one else does that. Even the best of the best, write in
a way that makes us feel bad, and feel sorry for the person with
BPD. This is the last thing we non's need...at least at first. And
believe me it can take YEARS to get to the sympathy part. What we
non's need at first (and maybe for a long time) is to get mad, get
pissed, get a dose of reality! What we non's need is someone to
stand up for us! No one in my life ever did that for me, and I thank
you for it.
You're welcome, and thanks for the feedback. You're correct; we've
got to go through anger, before we can find sympathy/forgiveness--otherwise,
what is there to forgive??
Q. Hi Shari, I love your website. It's been extremely helpful
to me as someone who just encountered their first borderline. These
two statements from your article 'If
Looks Could Kill' seem contradictory. Could you explain how
BPD's chase partners who aren't available--but yet you also say
they pick partners who they sense will never leave them? (See quotes)
"Chasing partners who are emotionally or physically unavailable--or
married/attached, keeps this yearning vibrant, and inhibits them
from embracing a partner who's actually able to provide love on
a consistent basis." (and) "They usually pick partners
they sense will never leave them, which assuages their abandonment
concerns--but the 'testing phase' never actually ends."
These statements are contradictory. I've been wanting to
add clarification to that piece, and it's totally understandable
you're feeling confused. This exemplifies the Borderline's paradoxical
nature. The Chase is intoxicating for them--but they also seek the
security/safety of partners who won't abandon them. Once you're
really theirs, the seduction challenge is over, and they don't want
you anymore--until you're gone, then (on a whim)
they suck you back in, and this vicious cycle repeats.
Shari, should a woman with Borderline Disorder have a baby?
Nearly every client I've worked with was raised by people with narcissistic
and/or borderline features. Does that answer your question?
Thank you very much for waking me up. Your BPD articles have been
so very helpful, and cleared a lot of my confusion--and today I
found the link on your resources
page, and I'm finally recognizing the extent of abuse I've lived
with. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
You're very welcome.
Shari, your article on borderline males is extraordinary.
I'm a psychiatrist in private practice, and your materials on BPD
are the most comprehensive, accurate and insightful I've ever seen,
to explain this disorder. I have a few Borderlines in my practice,
and I'd like more input regarding why they self-sabotage and break
away from treatment, just as they're making tangible progress.
This (ironically) boils down to their sense of closeness to you
within the therapeutic attachment, and it's partly due to their
separation/individuation phase of development (I
still need you, but I don't want to!) which coincides with
their infancy experience around the age of one (or in this case,
about a year into treatment). At this point, you may see some acting-out
behaviors; triangulating/diffusing their bond with you by 'test
driving' other therapists or alternate modalities of treatment,
going back to their former (toxic) lover, skipping standing appointments/rescheduling
them at the last minute, being belligerent/resistent to care, transferring
long-held unresolved rage toward a parent onto you, etc. This is
with any practitioner who's doing solid/meaningful work with core-damaged
people. In truth, the better you've done your job, the more likely
they are to push away. With any luck, they'll resume when their
attachment/abandonment anxiety eases up.
Most of your articles suggest that Borderlines can't be helped.
Is this true?
It isn't that Borderlines can't be helped--it's that they won't
be. Very few have the will and courage to pursue meaningful intervention,
and work hard toward recovery. I've worked successfully with this
disorder--but the client's dedication to becoming well and whole,
is what decides their fate.
I'm finally feeling ready to break it off with my borderline girlfriend,
but I'm afraid of hurting her. How should I go about this?
The best method is to keep it short and sweet. You'll have a tendency
to blame her, or point out all the reasons you need
to leave--but this will only relieve your guilt about ending
it, and be harmful/shaming to the Borderline. In short, it's not
an effective or compassionate departure strategy! Express
that you've cared for and appreciated her, but this relationship
is no longer a solid fit for you, and you need to move on.
If she wants to maintain you as a friend, reference this
article, and scroll down to the subsection; CAN'T WE STILL BE
FRIENDS?? Friendship involves mutual trust and respect, which has
never been at the foundation of this relationship. If it wasn't
there when you were sleeping together, it isn't gonna be there when
Shari, do Borderlines attach to emotionally healthy people?
Sure--but emotionally healthy people don't attach
Can divorce cause Borderline Personality Disorder?
No. Actually, it's just the other way around.
I broke up with a borderline two weeks ago. Does she miss me?
Not like you need to think she does--or should. Scroll down to and
read the 'myths' section of this
Shari, are ALL Borderlines hypersexual and promiscuous--and will
they all have affairs on their partner?
No--in fact, some Borderlines are asexual (or non-sexual) especially
after marriage, and may actually fear sexual closeness. This
can take the form of male impotency; chronic premature
ejaculation, inability to orgasm during intercourse and failure
to achieve/maintain erections--and Vaginismus,
or chronic vaginal and/or bladder problems that occur in females
with borderline traits, which can disrupt or prevent erotic interplay.
issues typically stem from early, buried psychic/emotional trauma.
Many Borderlines do stray from their primary relationships, but
it's not true for all of them.
Shari, I came across your article about borderline
men last night, and WOW. I feel like you've been in my house,
studying my relationship. You have no idea how helpful these BPD
articles were. 11 years of blaming myself virtually disappeared,
and I am filled with a sense of peace I never dreamed possible (I
gave up on silly things like hopes, dreams and desires about 9 years
ago). My problem is, I married the narcissist. I was 19, my dad
ran off when I was two, and had recently died when I met this man.
Blah blah, you see where I'm going with this--you've probably heard
it a thousand times before. The divorce hearing is in a couple days,
and I am really looking forward to never having to even say his
name again, but the problem is, we have a child--he's always going
to be around. I'm wondering if you have any tips for divorcing the
borderline. More importantly, do you have or know of any resources
for children of borderlines? Our daughter is 8, and while she is
more emotionally mature than he'll ever be, I realize that his lies
and manipulations will carry over into the courtroom, and he'll
likely be granted extensive visitation, if not joint custody. Thanks.
First, there is nothing wrong with hopes, dreams and desires; they
assist you in creating a more gratifying reality. With regard to
your child, when the Mothership is sound, her passengers can reach
their destination intact. Stop confusing your feelings, anxieties
and needs with hers. This is projection,
and it's undermining to her. Get into some solid (core) therapy
to dismantle the self-worth issues and self-sabotaging behaviors
you've carried around for a lifetime. As You grow
stronger, more integrated and whole, your daughter will automatically
benefit--as you'll have even more inner resources to share with
her, and be better able to navigate the dissolution of this marriage.
Wow. I was browsing your website after doing a Google search for
BPD abuse, and landed on your 'Testimonials'
page. The way those people raved about your articles made me curious
enough to click on the links--and I must tell you, I've never come
across anything like them. You are a genius! Thank
you for making this information available for guys like me. You've
not only helped me learn about the Borderline--you have helped me
understand myself a lot better, and now I've got a roadmap. Thanks
Shari, thank you for your informative web site. Have you been listening
to my conversations and watching my daily interactions with a BPD
woman? I am a married man who was having difficulty in my marriage
(lack of attention) and was attracted to this "damsel in distress"
and began a flirtatious relationship with her. This has been the
roughest 12 months of my life. In my desperation I began 'googling'
personality disorders because I knew something was not right. Yes!
I am a fixer, a police officer for 25 years and a hostage negotiator.
I have negotiated with real "nutjobs" in the past and
never became this emotionally spent and screwed up. To think, I
almost bailed on my wife and kids for this woman who would eventually
make me eat my gun! Since finding your site, I have started to distance
myself from her after last 'splitting' episode. Today (Christmas)
I've already received her text message saying "I guess you
don't want to talk any-more...I'm forgettable, so its okay...I wouldn't
expect any different," blah blah blah. How stupid I have felt
over this--and thanks to you, no more. Yes, I will deal with my
own issues now.
Sounds like you found yourself a classic BPD
waif. Glad to hear this hasn't destroyed your
marriage, and Happy Holidays to you and yours.
My BPD girlfriend is married, and she's wanting to leave her husband
and be with me. The problem is, they have a young son together,
and she can't leave their state, due to joint custody laws. She
tells me how much she misses and loves me--and my heart breaks when
she describes how cruel and manipulating her husband is, and how
hopeless she feels. She's talked about killing herself if she has
to stay with him--and that she's only keeping herself going for
the sake of their little boy. I've already sent her thousands
of dollars to help with legal fees so she can get out of this marriage,
and I don't know what else to do. I'm so in love with this woman,
I'm thinking of closing down my business and moving across the country
to be close to her. Any advice?
Yes. Don't do it! Borderlines can only love you
from afar. All this drama is very romantic, but you can't trust
what this woman tells you, as Borderlines are pathological liars.
Here's an excerpt from one
of my articles; 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
Is the Narcissist intimidated by the Borderline?
Yes, and no. Insecure people are often intimidated by those more
brilliant or beautiful than they, and this can be true for the Narcissist--but
the issue of 'intimidation' is more about their perceived level
of need, which I speak to here; HAVEN'T
WE MET BEFORE? The Borderline/Narcissist Couple. Needing
is exceedingly uncomfortable for narcissistic individuals, because
it implies a loss of control, and inability to maintain their (grandiose)
Ms. Schreiber, I've read (and reread) your articles on BPD, and
wish to thank you for making this information available on the Web.
My psychiatrist initially referred me to your site, and these materials
have been enormously helpful, in getting me through the toughest
time in my life (literally, 'saving
my life, after loving a Borderline')! I cannot thank you enough.
I've spent time on a few BPD message boards for extra support along
the way, and I'm frankly shocked that one of them (BPDfamily.com)
is maligning you, saying your license was canceled--and you're claiming
to be someone you're not. I've found your materials to be more helpful
than anything else I've come across (including several BPD books
I've purchased), to help me better understand my ex, and why this
relationship was so gut wrenching. I don't think I could have gotten
through all this, without your help. Thank you, and God bless!!!
You're very welcome! I completed a 6-year Marriage
and Family Therapist private practice internship in 2001, so perhaps
this is showing on record. I took both Calif. state boards, passed
the first one and was preparing again for the second, when I met
with a serious accident in 2007 which could have killed me--but
thankfully only left me with painful bruises, scrapes and a bad
concussion. Around this time, I surrendered my application for MFT
licensure, because I wasn't capable of focusing, or sitting for
that upcoming exam. The BBS refunded my application fee, upon receiving
ambulance documentation of the incident. Life offered a detour along
my path, and I chose to take it. I have never misrepresented myself
or my services--as I'm not in the 'therapy' business. Everyone who
seeks my help is informed up front, that I do not
work as a state licensed clinician--and there isn't anything on
my site, which suggests that I do. This hasn't seemed to be a deterrent
so far--even with clients who are practicing psychologists or psychiatrists.
I had a run-in with the director of the blog site you've mentioned,
awhile back. Apparently, he found one of my
articles valuable, and (despite my non-consent)
used it in a PDF file! I'm guessing he might want to discredit or
devalue me now, as revenge for my not granting him that permission.
Ah well, sticks and stones.
How condescending Skip at BPDfamily is towards you--and he sure
does like to copy your work! This is blatant plagiarism,
if you ask me. Almost point by point they copied you - barely changing
the wording even! I noticed this before I read
your statement regarding BPDfamily at the end of one
of your articles. Hopefully everything will work out in your
favor. Just wanted to let you know that I love your work, and please
don't get discouraged by this snake--your articles literally saved
my life. Thank you!
Thanks, dear--you're very kind. I am pleased that my materials have
been helpful to you! Keep up the good work. I'm hearing from other
members on BPDfamily who are as disturbed by Skip's derisive fabrications
about me as you are. Isn't it odd that he keeps stealing from my
articles, when he thinks so poorly of me? It would seem this epitomizes
valuing/devaluing behaviors, but you be the judge.
Shari, I know you claim to not 'hate' borderlines, but your articles
seem unsympathetic to them, and come across as well, just plain
The best way for me to respond, is to ask: Is anger an emotion you
ever allow yourself to feel? When you do experience
anger, do you feel guilty or bad about it afterward? Have you held
judgment toward yourself about this feeling, and others as well?
An emotionally sound person will not tolerate the feelings
an abusive relationship invokes, and they'll get the hell out.
My work (and articles) give you permission to feel all
your emotions, without recriminations, censure or self-ridicule--so
you can grow healthier and more whole. Whether
you're a Borderline or not, that's the goal of
Older entries have been archived, and can be located here.
Be sure to visit my new BPD