THE MALE BORDERLINE
Surviving the Crash after your Crush

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

 

You'll be learning about dangerous men here, and how to avoid them. There are very few females who haven't encountered a borderline disordered male at some point during their lifetime, whether he's been a fellow employee, a boss, a neighbor, or somebody from an online dating site--where there's an exceptionally high ratio of them. Just wanna get laid?? Stay right where you are. Seeking a healthy partnership? Stop fishing in contaminated ponds, and commit to the hard inner work it takes to heal and grow, so you can finally accept the love you need.

Admittedly, I had a challenging time starting this article, because the bulk of people who contacted me about their BPD relationships had been men--but I kept getting letters from females who said, "what about us~ why aren't you writing about our experiences with this type of personality??" I was fortunate to have had brief encounters with narcissistic or borderline disordered males, and they taught me about what to avoid. When I'd decided to include those experiences in this article, it flowed. As many more women began contacting me for help, their stories very closely echoed and confirmed what I'd already written, so this seemed to give extra validity to the material.

Personally, I've been 'lucky in love,' or perhaps just very discerning. All of my significant, lengthy relationships have been harmonious and loving. These were the right men at the right time, and we enjoyed mutual admiration and respect. When I met someone who felt a bit 'off' to me, I declined a second date. Having trusted my instincts saved me from a lot of heartache. Let this literature serve as a guide, that can help you learn to honor and trust yours.

This material attempts to explore and expose borderline personality features and narcissism in males as comprehensively as possible, so you can begin to rebalance/heal from your most tormenting relationship experiences. Browse the various sub-sections in this piece while you're visiting--they describe the intricate aspects of personality disordered men and their behaviors. Don't try to read this text cover to cover or all in one evening, as it's pretty lengthy.

Narcissists are not always borderline disordered (they lack psychotic traits), but Borderlines are always narcissistic, as each lacks capacity for empathy. Can these issues be cured? Yes, but it requires highly specialized care, and tenacious commitment by the client/patient to do some very courageous and difficult recovery work.

I'm sometimes inundated with letters from irate BPD males who insist they have tremendous capacity for empathy, but they've confused this term with sympathy, and the two words by definition, are very different.

It's not that there are actually more women than men with BPD, it's that we haven't identified the ways it manifests in males, as pathological. We might have climbed on-board with the 'male bashing' some women have promoted, and assumed this gender had innate deficits when they've acted like "jerks," but what's often spawned our pejorative view, is aberrant behavior patterns in men with borderline traits. Does that rearrange your mental files??

Male BPD traits include; impulsivity, passive aggression, lying, stalking, lack of empathy, poor self-worth, drug/alcohol abuse, extramarital affairs, rageful outbursts, depression/suicidal ideation, inability to hold difficult emotions or self-soothe, self-harming behaviors (or accident prone), cognitive distortion and projections, splitting (love you/hate you), physical volatility or violence, rebound relationships, anxiety or OCD issues, self-sabotage in personal and professional realms, an incapacity to want you unless they can't have you, extreme jealousy, narcissism/grandiosity, selective memory/recall, black or white thinking, verbal exhibitionism, codependency (and other addictions), control issues, eating disorders, emotional blackmail, childhood molestation, dissociation or "black-outs," perfectionism/rigidity, and drawn to inaccessible women or long-distance romances.

A colleague who works almost exclusively with male borderlines, has told me that they generally present as commitment-phobes and sex addicts, which seems logical--for at the very core of borderline pathology, is an attachment issue that starts in infancy, with Mother. This is addressed more fully below, under my subsection; THE WIZARD OF ODDS.

It's not been my intent to neglect or overlook gay or bi-sexual males here, but in my work with borderline males and those trying to recover from loving them, the bulk of this text applies, regardless of sexual preference.

Borderline Personality Disorder in men is harder to recognize than in women, because their seductions are usually emotional, rather than sexual. The Male Borderline may appear 'normal' in contrast to other men, who seem so afraid of closeness, they're back-peddling before your second date! For simplicity's sake, this piece names the borderline disordered male, Casanova. Seducing women feeds his narcissism, and fills his core emptiness--it's his addiction. Since he can't form solid/healthy attachments, he takes hostages. Make sure you don't become his next prisoner.

THE HONEYMOON

Initially, you may be taken with his unique openness and vulnerability, since you haven't encountered this in other males you've known. It's refreshing to find a guy who doesn't censor his feelings/thoughts, and seems emotionally accessible! It's incredible that this man appears so completely without guile, he almost instantly puts you at ease and inspires your trust.

You're appreciated for your qualities and attributes, and admired/respected for the woman you've become. He's extremely attentive at first, and wants to be with you constantly--which is like music to your soul. As this courtship picks up speed, you feel fortunate to have found such a considerate, loving, thoughtful man--but just as you begin trusting that his pronouncements of love are genuine and start envisioning your future together, things change.

Casanova makes sure you know how grateful he is to have finally found you, because you're "like no other woman" he's ever known. His enthusiasm and glee seem authentic: One of my ex's would initially remark how great it was, that he'd finally met a female who was his "intellectual equal." This elicited my prophetic response; I hope that what you're loving now, you won't start despising, later. Yes, I'd had warning signals just like you--and foolishly put them aside. He'd just recently left a long-term marriage, and I knew better. While he had dated a few others in-between, my concerns about the wisdom of our timing, were always met with vehement assurances that he'd wanted someone like me, his "whole life!" Before long, I threw caution to the wind~ and it came back to bite me on the fanny.

As soon as a Borderline senses you're really His, he distances himself, shuts down or finds fault with you. Your first mistake, is thinking that's about You!

The Borderline brings a whole lot of unfinished business from his childhood, into your relationship dynamic--which was certainly no exception, in my brief brush with this kind of male:

The brunt of his unhealed pain concerning the loss of other attachments was transferred to me--which couldn't help but create speed-bumps; he'd tried to monitor/control my eating, for one! His father ("The Doctor") died of arterial disease, and his wife gained a huge amount of weight during their marriage. Two sizable abandonments, for sure--but while I'd gently point out that this stuff didn't belong with me, and assure him I wouldn't get fat or die anytime soon, this issue arose constantly! Resolving it, typically took hours. Mostly, our time together was marvelous, but the dialogues became exhausting--like working on my days off. No question, I was doing all the heavy lifting in that relationship; tears streamed down his face, whenever I'd try to engage him on any topic we were struggling with--no matter how soft my approach. This was his method of shutting-down, and deflecting resolution. When we'd get close to a breakthrough, he'd kitchen-sink me (re-referencing former issues that had previously been discussed and resolved) in his effort to throw me off track, and maintain control. In truth, I'd recognized his narcissism early on, and thought I could handle it--but this control issue kept rearing its ugly little head, and it was profoundly injurious to our bond.

Love is blind. When you're with a Borderline, you'll see only what you want to see about this guy--and you won't begin to wake-up until he drops you on your head, and you're drowning in so much pain and shame, you can barely breathe. Even then you won't leave, because you'll keep hoping for the good times to return--but beware! This male can turn your world upside-down and inside-out, to where you can hardly remember or recognize that woman you used to be, before he came along.

Right about now you might be thinking, "surely even a painful relationship is better than no relationship at all," but here's the deal; hanging out with You can't actually kill you--but hanging out with a Borderline, definitely can. At the very least, your physical and emotional health will suffer.

PAY CLOSE ATTENTION - IGNORE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Central to personality disorder problems, is arrested emotional development, which is catalyzed by parental neglect and/or abuse in infancy and childhood. Adult development can be accomplished, but it takes time to mend the core trauma wounds that are inherently at the root of this dysfunction.

Some of these males present as little boys, ambivalently in need of rescuing or care. Their vulnerability comes across in a way that has you seeing them as open and genuine--but watch out! Don't believe the hardship stories they feed you, while asking for a "temporary" loan or place to sleep. This type of fellow is discussed (below) in; THE BOY WHO CRIED WAIF. Don't think for a moment, this guy can't screw up your life, just because he seems so pitiful. A 'victim' type Borderline will resent/harm anyone who tries to be his savior; you're just kidding yourself, if you think that You'll be the exception.

These males are love-avoidant. It isn't that they haven't wanted love--it's that they've never been able to trust it. You won't change this, regardless of how much you adore him--or how 'safe' you make it for him emotionally. It's not that things won't be good for awhile--but then he'll suddenly run off with his old girlfriend or gal he met on an elevator, without any thought for you.

If you're a caregiver/codependent type and you think you can help this fellow heal, get out now. This guy had very disappointing and painful relationship experiences with Mother, and you're not gonna change that for him. Besides, no man wants to fuck his mommy--and if he does, he's way more screwed-up than you think he is. He left home to get away from her, and he'll do it to you! A Borderline's nature is paradoxical; the better you treat him, the faster he has to find fault with you, distance himself or push you away. In short, he won't let you love him.

There's always a childhood template that sets up our attraction to someone personality disordered. Perhaps your Borderline has traits similar to mother or father, and you're familiar with the relationship dynamics you've struggled with in this attachment (which keeps it thrilling). Childhood wounds must be repaired and resolved, or you will keep being drawn to this kind of male.

Control issues and addictions typically help Casanova defend against painful ambivalence that's characterized by deep longing but fear of needing, while constantly undermining his personal strivings and attachment endeavors. He could routinely pursue relationships with borderline disordered females, who are incapable of sustaining authentic intimacy and connection--which makes the task of maintaining safe emotional proximity a non-issue. Long-distance romances conveniently inhibit deeper bonds, and quell his engulfment fears.

The Borderline is incapable of sustaining any type of feeling, including love. He'll act-out his ambivalence or upsets, rather than speaking with you about what's bothering him--and he'll always put the blame on you for his feelings. You may presume that if you just try a little harder to make him happy, it'll be possible to have a harmonious relationship with this guy, but you're just dreaming. Borderlines thrive on crisis, drama and pain, which contribute to their sense of aliveness--it's the main reason many are treatment resistant.

Casanova won't seek therapeutic help unless/until he's in crisis. The catalyst might be due to severe financial or health setbacks, but it's more typically connected to trying to navigate/surmount painful relationship dynamics with a lover who has BPD features that surpass his own.

Once his crisis is contained/resolved, he'll seldom remain for the emotional growth work that's crucial for him to achieve adult development. This portion of treatment is critical, for he will not be able to let go of long-standing BPD traits (self-sabotage, crisis orientation, passive-aggression, addictions, etc.) without it. The male borderline in treatment is discussed in my subsection, THE PRINCE OF TIDES.

A TRIP TO THE MOON ON GOSSAMER WINGS--OR JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS?

The Chase is intoxicating for him--outside of that, he gets bored. Borderline females are the only ones who are better at this game than he is, and they can hold his attention indefinitely. Years after their split, he's still lamenting about the one who got away and insisting it was "real love," even though his attachment fears caused him to act-out, and surely hastened the death of that relationship.

Stealing you away from somebody else can fuel a borderline male's ego, and ease his long-standing insecurities. He may have had a father who cheated, and a variety of complex feelings about being left to soothe a pitiful, victim-like Waif mother, can prompt him to compulsively repeat his dad's unsavory practices with pre-attached females.

Aside from a sense of empowerment he may have derived from adopting the role of surrogate mate for Mother, replicating his dad's antics help him identify with the father he never had, and minimize pain from the missing paternal bond. Stealing another man's woman enables him to punish/shame other men, as he might have relished doing to his dad, as an abandoned little boy. This pattern compulsively repeats, as he's acting-out unresolved anger from childhood neglect and betrayal.

Casanova has love/hate relationships with females due to childhood deficits with Mom, that left him with considerable emotional ambivalence. Between trying to get boyhood needs met for nurturant attention, and his belief that he must love and respect his maternal tormentor, he continuously struggles with attachment. Many of these men were undermined by a dying father who made them promise to "take care of Mother" in his absence. No matter how toxic her presence, he just can't break that vow to his dad.

This has far reaching ramifications for a boy whose mother has narcissistic or borderline features. My ex reported that a few therapists he'd seen with his wife, commented about issues with his mother--but he dismissed them out of hand. In retrospect, he needed serious individual core work--but alas, he was a self-proclaimed "Behaviorist," which is shorthand for young soul.

This meticulous male had OCD features, which spilled over into our dynamic. His perfectionism ran amok, and as he apparently needed to have the upper hand in this romance, he'd instruct me on how to do the most basic tasks! I viewed this with awe and disbelief, as I'd taken excellent care of myself for over fifty years--and managed all that, without his input. This behavior felt infantalizing, and made me presume he'd been with inept, insecure females before me--or ones who had somehow tolerated his narcissistic traits. Maybe they'd swallowed their feelings, and developed some emotional and physical insulation just to cope with his steady criticisms--and take up more space in that relationship! (There's zero room for your needs with a Narcissist.)

Casanova's middle name is Rebound. His immediate need is to replace you, if the affair falters. After an incredibly fatiguing three months of dealing with the drama in that relationship, I regretfully threw in the towel. I had second thoughts the following day, and phoned (six hours later) to ask if we might give it one more try. He was "unsure." As it turned out, he'd already lined up dates with several new women, to mitigate what must have been intolerable abandonment shame. We resumed our dance over the next few weeks, but I could never get our connection back--and he lied about sleeping with others while having unprotected sex with me! Not to worry m'dear, I got even.

SOMETIMES YOU FEEL LIKE A NUT--SOMETIMES YOU DON'T.

An emotionally damaged male might have the gumption to tell you right up front that he's not available for something serious. If he's great looking and funny, you may only want to bed him, which is okay! But the way he makes love to you, sends a completely different message than he's conveyed, and before long, you're convinced he's changed his mind. Sure--that's what the last gal thought, and now she's bleeding from every pore. Casanova doesn't want to need you--but his self-worth is dependent on you needing him.

There are times you'll think you're going insane--because the contradictions and mixed messages just keep coming. At first, you'll sweep them under the rug, and find ways to excuse them--but it get's tougher to feel like you're on solid ground when the rules keep changing. For example; he insists that you learn to sleep very close or entwined--but just as you get accustomed to it, you'll begin finding him on the farthest side of the bed. If you approach this subject (even very gently), he'll scold you for not bringing it up sooner--and make it seem like your failing! Borderlines pull you in closer, then push you away; you'll either feel adored and admired or devalued and dejected. Listen to Madonna's 'One Step Over the Borderline' for a sense of this.

You may be a strong, well-established, successful woman with a mind of her own, but the Borderline has an uncanny ability to wear you down until you're second-guessing and doubting yourself. Fairly soon after your romance takes flight, he could coax you to "open up" or let down your guard, and trust him more. Up to this point, his behaviors have been loving--but you've gone with your instincts so far, and it takes you awhile to let someone in really close.

A long-time friend eventually succumbed to the cajoling of such a male. The minute she dropped her armor and gave him access to her softer, vulnerable side, he phoned less, played crazy-making mind games, found fault with her, and turned into an asshole. Having fallen in love, it took my friend months to get over him--but her body has held that trauma. She's left with a severe colon disorder, which makes it impossible to even consider getting physically or emotionally naked with a man again. At least she's safe from more injury, but some toxic shame remains. Don't just love with your heart--make sure you're using your head.

The game playing/testing phase can start pretty early. He could make plans with you a week or more in advance--but never phone you to firm 'em up, or address the particulars. So you're sitting around wondering what to wear for the occasion, and thinking; "surely he'll call soon, to fine-tune this date with me," but you start to think he's either forgotten it--or may just not show up. This crap is intentional. Any male who's excited about somebody, goes that extra mile to make certain they're still on the same page, and she's looking forward to seeing him! Anything else, is a manipulation. If you phone him to see where you stand, he's learned how much bad behavior he can get away with and what you'll tolerate--and it sets the tone for all that follows.

Casanova has severe self-worth issues. His only way of gauging if a woman finds him worthy of her time or interest, is by noticing her early willingness for physical/sexual contact. That's his barometer. Since he's never learned to regard himself as being lovable or worthy of admiration and respect, he'll cast aside any female who views him that way. In short, he dislikes himself, and won't join any club that would have him as a member--but this can still leave him wide-open to initial induction by a female Borderline.

BillyBoy was much younger than I, but we cultivated a lovely friendship. He seemed to crave mentoring, and was consistently appreciative about helpful insights or wisdom I offered. He was wildly flirtatious from the very start of our association, but while I enjoyed the fun banter, I never took it seriously. Our friendship was rich and satisfying on many levels, but even as I'd (once) imagined what might be possible beyond our emotional bond, I was certain his damage and lack of development would surely make that a catastrophe. After some years, I learned that BillyBoy had long maintained a fantasy that I wanted him. Apparently, he'd needed me to desire him, to fortify his self-image. This guy ritualistically lead with his sexuality, and seduced females to validate his worth (and yes, he was gorgeous) but his sense that I craved him sexually, was purely wishful thinking and projection. I think his psycho-therapist (to be taken literally) fueled his distortions of our relationship, but his passive dishonesty eroded my trust in him beyond repair.

Your borderline lover is hypersensitive--to well, just about everything. This guy will have you feeling just horrible about hurting his feelings, even when you know you didn't mean a thing by that silly, offhand comment you made about one of his relatives. He'll sulk, become distant, or angrily bust your ovaries over some stupid little oversight, to where you've begun walking on eggshells around him, just to avert these agonizing occurrences! Molehills become mountains, and no matter how careful you are, you're gonna step on a land mine--and there isn't a darned thing you can do about it. It won't be long, before the joyful parts of yourself (like your sense of humor) die off.

This doesn't mean he won't be sweet to you at times, or even generous--but you feel imprisoned by his volatility, and how easily he's upset. Soon, you'll be so cautious about setting him off, you practically become robotic without feelings or needs--basically, a Stepford Wife. Your body's still here, but your spirit and soul feel dead. Think you love him? Loving's never painful, unless you also have abandonment and attachment issues--and if you didn't, you'd already be outta there!

DOUBLE DIPPING AND THE DOUBLE STANDARD

In the middle of a battle or break-up, your Borderline could flirt with, bait and bed a whole lot of folks. This leaves you open to contracting all sorts of STD's, but his attitude when You venture out during one of your separations and date another, is tantamount to provoking a ten point earthquake on the Richter Scale! Ironically, it's perfectly acceptable for him to do the Mattress Mambo with as many casual partners as he wishes--but heaven help you, if you draw outside the lines just one tiny bit; the seismic reaction will be one you'll never live down! It makes no difference how many times you point out these massive discrepancies concerning your relationship hiatus by the way, he now has a dealbreaker to clobber you with, each time you try to reconcile. Hypocrisy is the order of the day with a Borderline. This keeps you confused and off center--but you've gotten used to that by now, haven't you??

Don't presume he's telling you the truth about his sexual history, or health. You may want to believe him when he says he's "clean," or just got an aids test--but the reality is, he's used to lying, and fabricating/embellishing facts to get what he wants, and you honestly can't know who you're dealing with, when you've begun dating. Use protection--no matter what your intuition is saying about this guy! Not doing so, could mean a death sentence or living with a painful virus like herpes or genital warts, he conveniently "forgot" to tell you about. This happens to plenty of women. Don't be one of them.

HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT

I dated a guy in my thirties, who I quickly sensed was neurotic. One minute, The Meltz was all over me (like Doakes on Dexter), and I couldn't even keep lipstick on, with all that kissing! The next thing I knew, he was unreachable, distant and cold--but then it would switch again. This Dr. Jekyll - Mr. Hyde split in behavior and demeanor is a dead giveaway, that you're involved with a borderline disordered male, and there's big trouble up ahead.

You may have accepted some blame for his erratic moods, because it made perfect sense when he explained why he was withdrawn, frustrated, angry or sad--and you wanted to help him. After all, this terrific guy has chosen You to love, and share all these feelings with--aren't you the lucky one?

Casanova tries to globalize his behaviors, to make them seem commonplace or trivial. He'll diminish/humiliate you for making mountains out of molehills, and "sweating the small stuff." He'll make you feel wrong for accepting his word on commitments he breaks! When he doesn't follow through, he lacks the decency to apologize. If you confront this and hold him accountable for his actions, he makes excuses, becomes rageful and projects his shame and self-loathing onto you. He's been with females a lot more desperate, who've let him get away with this crap, but you don't have to. He's shown you who he is, and who he isn't--and he's not a man of his word. Do not trust him.

As with borderline females, this fellow lacks boundaries and impulse control. He could show up at your house or work unannounced, or phone a ridiculous number of times during your day, which will initially be delightful--but you'll later question whether or not he's capable of tolerating time alone. He may be awkward around your friends--especially when they're male. His jealousy might be well hidden, but you can sense his frosty reserve when he meets them. Any individual who takes your attention away from him is perceived as a threat. He'll accuse you of the most absurd indiscretions--and you'll feel as though you're constantly defending yourself against his irrational fantasies concerning other men in your life! No matter how much you reassure him of your devotion, he just can't retain it. No Borderline can. Loving Casanova is like trying to fill a bottomless pit.

JUST WHEN YOU THINK IT'S SAFE TO GO BACK IN THE WATER . . .

Even if your radar's pretty sharp when it comes to men, and you think you're exempt from falling for a borderline disordered male, think again. This guy seems so wonderful at first, you can hardly believe it! It's like you've been wishing for this kind of connection forever, and now it's finally here. But as this relationship progresses, you'll feel increasingly frustrated, confused and tormented. That fantastically open guy you met keeps shutting you out, and you end up painfully longing and yearning for the way it was.

I've treated quite a few male Borderlines. They phone me complaining about relationship problems (no surprise there), but telltale comments always give them away. Many seem determined to tell me what great lovers they are, and how every female they've ever been with, has declared them "The Best." A confident male doesn't need to talk about his sexual prowess, or anything else he feels sure of for that matter; income, job status, athletic superiority, good looks, academic achievements, etc.

This man's self-esteem is typically predicated on externalized elements that reflect his success or accomplishments, rather than having an intrinsic sense of lovability/worth for simply being, as opposed to doing--which is a remnant from boyhood esteem wounds, inflicted by a narcissistic parent (or two).

This male is likely to choose-down, or select females he perceives as needy or less powerful than he. Any woman who is whole or has greater resources than he's recognized in himself, activates his abandonment fears. If he does choose a partner who's relatively sound/healthy, he'll systematically tear her down, and make her question her own worth. In this way, he's always in the driver's seat, and abandonment concerns are averted. This frequently occurs with BPD males in the psychotherapeutic or medical professions.

Casanova is prone to having affairs with married women, or engaging in his own extramarital dalliances. He persistently chooses 'safe' relationships that have no chance of moving beyond a casual or superficial status. He gets to be The Hero who swoops in and rescues damsels in distress from stale/worn out commitments. He could have a desperate need to be needed, if boyhood issues left him with shame concerning worthiness. Childhood chaos or drama always ignites the need to control our experiences, and drives codependent relational dynamics that fortify the grandiose, false-self. These defenses can be like 'rescue-remedy' for a damaged soul--but relief is short-lived.

Compensatory behaviors that help one defend against inner fragility, usually take the form of various addictions and/or compulsions that undermine even the most sound relationship dynamics. Attachment ambivalence consistently derails his ability to maintain deep, meaningful ties. This impairment stems from boyhood self-esteem concerns, that make it virtually impossible for him to be emotionally naked or genuine with a partner who's actually available; the abandonment risk that's triggered is way too frightening. Bottom line, if a man isn't comfortable with himself, how could he possibly be centered and straight with You?!

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY (YOUR CONSTANT NEMESIS)

Casanova might talk about his past lovers, and make comparisons between them and you. Since he can't feel passionate/dramatic yearning for someone unless she's out of reach, his feelings of "Love" are usually squandered on a former romance. A woman who's present, loving and available doesn't trigger the difficult emotions he learned as a boy, were about loving an unavailable parent. It's highly inappropriate for him to compare you to anyone else--and you should never tolerate it. This is his distancing tactic, which makes you feel less-than, or not good enough--and that's his intent. Why does he treat you so cruelly? So he can make you feel jealous/insecure, and exercise more control over you and the relationship! If you're sticking around, make sure he knows he can't abuse you like this any longer--and hope to keep you. A guy I knew, did this with every female he dated! If Howdy Doody (that's who he looked like) hadn't had just two redeeming qualities, I wouldn't have stayed past the third date.

Being in love with a narcissistic male means you'll never feel busty enough, thin enough, bright enough, tall enough, etc. He may not convey his disdain or disappointment directly, but you will always feel inadequate. The truth is, he's insecure at his core--so he has to throw a shroud around your flame, to make his own glow a little brighter. He may never compliment you, but you'll surely know about the imperfections/deficits he sees in you. The narcissistic father does the same to his children. They grow up trying to please a parent who is not given to praise--unless their accomplishments reflect on him, and he can take credit for them. This behavior is wounding to their self-esteem, and drives compulsive perfectionism which can compromise their health.

GULLABILITY, AND THE GURU COMPLEX

Too many females are easily taken in by the Borderline's apparent brilliance and base of knowledge. In direct contrast to the instability you've observed in this male, there have been times you've glimpsed what seems to be his wisdom, his spirituality and his incredible knack for stating things that make him sound like the absolute authority on health and well-being. Borderlines are usually plagiarists and copycats. They may have read a plethora of self-help books along their life-path, which helped them assemble their broken inner shards of tile into a mosaic of sorts, that resembles a whole/definable self-image. They've got a remarkable capacity to mimic or parrot information they've read or heard--which helps you presume they're healthy and sane. This characteristic is particularly common among Borderlines in the "helping" professions--which amplifies the volume on your ambivalence and confusion about these guys. The central problem with their Guru Complex, is that they can talk the talk--but there's no way they can walk it! That would require integrity, which is a by-product of emotional (and moral) development.

Along these lines, Borderlines may alter their identity. They'll adopt a name or nickname that's different from the one they were given at birth. Just as plastic surgeries and body ornaments/tattoos change one's self-perceptions, Casanova could attempt to elevate himself to higher status, by shedding his persona in favor of a new one. This may take the form of choosing the name of a famous celebrity or historical figure, and it's rooted in self-loathing. We could speculate that Jesse James (once married to Sandra Bullock) has BPD features. In his book, American Outlaw he reportedly uncovers his childhood abuse. Sex addiction, infidelities and poor self-worth are symptoms of early neglect and abuse, which is central to Borderline Personality Disorder.

The narcissistic or borderline disordered male could be a verbal exhibitionist. He has an answer and anecdote for virtually everything under the sun--and you can't shut him up, as he regales you with little known facts on any topic you have the patience to hear about! So, while you're trying to get a word in edgewise and have a dialogue with this guy, you must listen to his endless monologue, instead. This is just one trademark of his grandiosity, and you're his captive audience. This feature might have you respecting and regarding him with awe (especially if you have self-worth issues), but there's precious little room for you in this relationship, and you'd better get used to that.

YOU CAN'T MAKE A FRUIT SALAD OUT OF A BANANA.

Casanova could be parsimonious in bed--but if he's generous, your orgasm is His--not yours. He's so darned busy pleasing you, he's a spectator who's not engaged in the game. The most pleasure he can take for himself, is thinking he'll stand out among all other lovers, who will pale against your memory of him. His narcissism is profound, to say the least. The sex may be great, but it could be the only part of this deal that is.

While guesting on a web broadcast with Dr. Tara Palmatier of ShrinkforMen on 10/3/11, a male caller stated that he had always been drawn to dark and dangerous females. He boasted about "burning them out sexually," to where they couldn't sustain the relationship. I asked him if he ever considered that he might have a sex addiction, to which he replied no--but when I asked him what he did when he felt empty or dead inside, he couldn't answer. This guy suddenly began advising other men about dating and sexual practices, as I'd apparently struck a sensitive nerve, and his narcissism couldn't handle it.

Impotency is fairly common among men with personality disorder features, if they've become close to you emotionally, prior to having sex. Men typically get to their feelings through sex, which is part of their bonding ritual. If this order is reversed, BPD males could have difficulty achieving and maintaining erections. In short, the more you actually matter to him, the less he's able to perform. This issue is demonstrated in the 2011 film, Shame.

In a committed relationship, his determination to please you wanes--unless he can keep seducing you, when your attention is diverted by something, or someone else. The borderline male kicks into high gear to win you over, only if there's threat of losing you. His grandiose ego can't tolerate competition, yet he thrives on it. The 'seduction phase' feels activating and heady--and (like all addictions) floods him with sensations of aliveness. He literally lives for these episodes, because he feels empty and dead inside, without them.

A lifetime of avoiding those difficult feelings, stirs his frantic need to remain attached--even after your relationship has bit the dust. He may be obsessed with rescuing compulsions if there are codependent features in his makeup, but efforts to escape his core pain/emptiness will eventually be transferred to another, once you've ended all contact. This doesn't mean that you won't ever hear from him again. He may check in now and then, to test the waters and see if there's an opening (or catch you in a weak moment). No response is always the best response.

You might want to resolve any unfinished business between you on friendly terms--but you'll never win with Casanova, or have him view you as he did before. If you keep hitting this ball back across the net and let him bait you, your conversations could feel devaluing/shaming--and you'll just be helping him drive you crazier, with each contact. He's toxic. Move on.

FRANKLY MY DEAR, I DON'T GIVE A DAMN.

Contrary to popular belief, the borderline male isn't necessarily compulsively drawn to sex--and in truth, he may be withholding and aloof concerning your needs for sensual contact. The Casanova Complex is purely about seduction. He has to exert control over you, whether that be financially, emotionally or sexually. Interactions must be on his terms, or he doesn't want to play. This can take the form of 'booty calls' in the middle of the night--or whenever it's least convenient for You. He may press you to satisfy his sexual proclivities (anal intercourse, fellatio, donning provocative costumes, sadomasochistic practices, watching porn, etc.), without any concern for what's comfortable or pleasurable for you. What else would you expect from a narcissistic guy?

Borderlines can be openly misogynistic (woman hating), or they may wrestle with substantial mistrust of females. Covert or secret fears concerning trust, combine with self-esteem issues, that trap males in emotional ambivalence, and leave them vacillating between loving women and despising them. This is the legacy that's left to them by their mothers. It seems that Jewish men are particularly at risk, due to engulfment struggles during childhood.

Jewish girls are raised to think of themselves as Princesses. This false sense of entitlement carries into their adult relationships, which is the basis for them using men to fulfill material desires, rather than loving them. This has far reaching repercussions for the son of a BPD mom who teaches him this by example, for he is programmed to provide, but expect little in return~ which deters trust in a potentially intimate bond.

Fear of closeness/intimacy plays out in all sorts of ways. A guy can bitch and moan for decades about not getting enough sex with his wife--yet he's thirty pounds overweight, has bad breath or poor body hygiene, isn't home most of the time due to "work demands," flirts with others in his partner's presence, etc. There's a payoff for maintaining these systems, because this damaged connection is always "the woman's" fault. He sees himself as a victim of her neglect--but he's simply reconstructed his boyhood dynamics with Mother.

Casanova often uses a long-term relationship or marriage as his springboard for flirtations and conquests. Without this relatively stable 'home base,' he's usually at odds in the world of women, due to his insecurities. His emotional development is stunted, so he's basically a pre-adolescent. His devoted wife or lover represents the safety/security of the mother he never had; still very immature, he cannot negotiate life on his own--so he's reassured/comforted when she's at home waiting, when he returns from his escapades with others.

If you catch your man cheating and call him out, he'll probably deny it until the cows come home--even when you're smelling her on your bed sheets, or finding strands of her hair in his truck!! The borderline male will concoct all sorts of lies to throw you off his scent, when he's screwing another woman. There will be out of town business trips, nights out with "the guys," lunches or dinners with clients, etc., that you'll have instincts about, but you won't confront. Females are highly intuitive creatures, and I have always believed that a wife's gotta be blind, deaf and dumb, to not know what she already knows. There may be myriad reasons why she doesn't want to rock the boat, but she senses when someone else is messing with her meat.

You guys could have some real knock-down, drag-out fights about this, and you might kick him out or he could leave for awhile, only to crawl back with his tail between his legs, begging for reprieve from emotional exile. He may promise never to do it again, and you'll want to believe him--but remember that story about the scorpion and the frog? This is his nature, he's lacking in character, and he's not gonna change (in your lifetime, anyway).

If you are the wife of a Borderline or Narcissist, and you've finally decided to leave (after trying for years to make your marriage work), he'll likely collapse into inconsolable depression. No matter how many infidelities he's had, your husband's childhood abandonment trauma will get reactivated--and he'll be howling at the moon in shame, for months afterward. What men never seem to comprehend, is that when a woman's given everything she can, there's no turning back. For better or worse, when she's finally done, she's done.

THE BOY WHO CRIED WAIF

The male borderline can come across as charismatic, seductive and powerful, which are characteristics that are especially attractive to female borderlines, or he may be humble, self-effacing, disempowered and seemingly victimized by life events and relationships. Whether a Superman or Waif, you'll need to keep your antennae circling, and trust even your most subtle impressions. A fixer/rescuer-type individual is a prime catch for the waif-like male.

No matter how much cheerleading you've granted him, the male waif makes you feel guilty for not believing in him enough, while he tries to get his ship in the water--but how is it, that he hasn't accomplished this over the past few decades before he met you?? Any relational upset "diverts" him from his goals, so you have to stifle your frustration, anger and sadness--or he'll hold you responsible for his 'get-rich' schemes not working out. In other words, you keep paying all the bills, while he rants at you for not caring about him or his success, accuses you of "only caring about the money," and makes his failings and setbacks your fault! He might even get sick or injure himself on a frequent basis, to elicit your care and concern--and get you off his back for expecting more out of him. He could also blame You for his need to be with other women.

This man-child can't tolerate any form of rejection. If you're not in the mood to make love, he's inclined to personalize your unwillingness to immediately fulfill his libidinal needs. He'll guilt you for abandoning him, not caring about him or "being withholding"--even when it's right after he's been abusive, and you're trying to recover emotionally and/or physically! This discord typically provokes his rage, which lands you right back into an abusive cycle. The BPD male has unresolved primal needs, due to lack of bonding with Mother during infancy; the only way he's able to experience closeness, is through sex and touch. Grown adults have the ability to connect intimately in other domains of their relationships (spiritual, emotional, cerebral, etc.) but the infantile Borderline has difficulty with mature interplay, and may rely solely on sex as a means of connecting. You'll feel objectified in this type of relationship.

Waif traits are common among men who live off the generosity or sympathy of females. No self-respecting male can let a partner support him long-term; if he does, he's sitting on some unresolved rage concerning women. It's like payback for the trauma a demanding/controlling mommy has left behind, and it's passive-aggressive. Subconsciously, he needs you to adore and take care of him, no matter what--but he'll eventually turn you into the kind of woman he left home to get away from. He's like Peter Pan--he never grows up.

There's a strong tendency in some of these men to avert monetary success if they've grown up with engulfment issues, and staying single feels safer. On some level, they know that most women will eventually reject them, due to their lack of financial responsibility. They'll lament this, and blame these females for being "shallow," but this 'deal-breaker' is actually their payoff for remaining poor--it helps them avoid real closeness and commitment. Do not fall in love with a guy for his "potential." It's a recipe for disaster.

Whether he's made you cognizant of his boyhood wounds and deficits or not, you'll try to avoid stepping on any emotional land mines, you've intuited are buried in his past. You might want to be a totally different female than the one(s) he grew up with--but that doesn't fit his emotional profile. He's far more familiar/comfortable with drama and neglect--it's what feels 'normal' to him. Given the Borderline's paradoxical nature, when you love him more, he loves you less. As your relationship grows more copasetic, calm and stable, he's more likely to sabotage it with betrayals, addictions, compulsions, etc.

A waif-like male could be considered The Quiet Borderline. You might regard him as effete, as he can seem relatively devoid of masculine essence (if you didn't know better, you'd swear he's gay!). He's soft-spoken, passive, and avoids confrontation of any kind. He could be drawn to strong, independent women, if his mom was domineering or controlling--but they're not sexually attracted to him. They may embrace him as a friend, but getting naked with this guy would feel akin to climbing into bed with a gal-pal. Unless a woman is fearful of men and masculinity, she'll be wanting a counterbalance to her feminine aspects--and won't settle on guys who are disconnected from their primal natures (which is fallout from a castrating parent, during boyhood).

A BPD Waif often approaches professional dealings with a sob story. His lack of funds or finances are always conveyed up-front, when trying to negotiate any type of business transaction (even therapy). This behavior is part of his survival reflex that's become habituated--but its roots go all the way back to childhood. Given it was impossible to get his mom's attention or care unless he was severely hurt/bleeding, he's been programmed to elicit sympathy in reference to all his needs. Since this has become his life-script, he's doomed to remain episodically pitiful and broke. Self-sabotage is a huge piece of this picture, and may take the form of chronic ailments or frequent mishaps.

You could hear statements like "you'd be better off without me" from this guy, as your Borderline's martyr/victim traits can appear to be altruistic and concerned about your well-being. In reality though, he wants you to refute his words, and convince him you'll stand by him--in spite of any financial or emotional setbacks you'll suffer. In short, you're being manipulated.

So fiercely entrenched is the Borderline's need to control his reality, he must regularly create opportunities to pull himself back from the brink of disaster. These destructive cycles encompass dangerous emotional or sexual liaisons, risky business ventures, neglect of personal finances and/or health, etc.

Childhood neglect/abuse left him with severe entitlement issues, so he feels undeserving of abundance/prosperity. The enlivening challenge of repeatedly surmounting those early traumas, gave him a semblance of power--which is key to his self-defeating compulsions. Like Houdini, he's compelled to keep surviving perilous conditions, just to prove to himself that he can--but even Houdini finally succumbed to one of his death-defying performances!

For this Borderline to begin tolerating love, success and a real sense of joy, there has to be a paradigm shift. This takes some hard core therapy, which challenges everything he grew up believing about himself. If he's wrestling with addictions, they're not just used to numb his pain--they're used to foil his glee, for he is considerably more at ease with struggle. He's the Eternal Martyr; it's simpler to keep circling the drain, than to climb out of the sink.

THE WIZARD OF ODDS

The only kind of closeness/connection Casanova can usually muster once the relationship is underway, is sexual. You could crave that sense of emotional attunement you had in the beginning, but seldom find it. Casanova typically had a Borderline mother--or one with BPD traits. Given her inherent lack of boundaries, she might have been playfully seductive with her maturing son, expecting him to respond to her charismatic/alluring moods when she felt empty, or dissatisfied with her romantic partnership. Even her carefree/casual naked or semi-nude exposure around her boy past his toddler phase, may have left him with unresolved Oedipal struggles, and conveyed the message; females are unwholesome/easy--and most certainly unboundaried. He'd also develop a grandiose sense of mastery over women, in terms of how to please, seduce and control them. Later on, this narcissistic or false-self, would mask boyhood insecurities.

The borderline disordered male typically learns about being a Man, from his mother. As absurd as this sounds, she was the more influential presence in his life. His father was either passive or rageful and abusive, and spent a lot of time away from the home. Borderline mothers may try to mold their sons into somebody who's very different from the man they've married, which has far reaching repercussions for a boy's self-esteem, as he is the seed of his father's loins--and subconsciously there's no way around that shame; "if my dad's bad, so am I." At the same time, Mom's views are heavily biased and usually distorted, as to how men should behave. Their dynamic can catalyze codependency issues, narcissistic grandiosity and pathological perfectionism as he grows to adulthood.

Casanova's ideation of women could have easily been sullied by his mother's continuous parade of lovers if she was single--or extra-marital affairs if she wasn't. Her moral deficits and unbridled impulses forced her son to compete for attention with every stranger who shared her bed, while no consideration was given to how her choices impacted him. Shame gets triggered for a boy whose mother acts whorishly. He has to either normalize her indiscretions in order to tolerate them--or hate her for betraying his respect and trust. This duality of feelings can't help but cause a split in how he regards and relates to other females, and it's how the Madonna/Whore Complex is established.

That old saying, "pay attention to how a man treats his mother" has merit, but you'd better pay closer attention to how his mother has treated him!

Any affection or positive attention he got from Mom was solely on her terms, and based on her immediate need for contact or mirroring--not his. He came to learn that her ebullient episodes meant that he'd receive a few crumbs of nourishment from her--but this was always predicated on her moods, and it was fleeting. In this manner, she programmed him to place his own feelings, needs and interests aside to respond to hers--because God only knows when this feel-good opportunity would come around again.

In-between these pleasurable experiences with Mother, he was abandoned, rejected and shamed. She'd scold him for the slightest infractions, and make it seem as though any/all disappointments or annoyances were his fault. Of course, he grew into manhood holding this very shameful/negative self-view, while compulsively striving for perfection, and growing deeply enmeshed.

Since enjoyable/nourishing episodes with his parent were infused with some level of erotic physical or emotional interplay, he came to compartmentalize and interpret these as Love--or a way to feel close with someone. As there were no alternate means for him to fortify this bond, he learned to objectify females (or love only a part of them), to meet his cravings for connection. A woman isn't seen as a whole/live human being, capable of giving emotional sustenance--but more a trophy that can bolster/repair his fractured ego. Sex addiction is fairly common among males who've acquired BPD traits.

When a mother/son bond is eroticised, all future attachments are tainted by this incestuous experience. Rather than growing up with a loving, supportive maternal presence, he's been cast into a complex adult role of gratifying his mother's needs for attention--and has been used to fuel her narcissism. This early conditioning sets him up for rescuing compulsions--but he feels most confident and powerful with his ability to seduce and satisfy. Other features, qualities and talents he has, remain underdeveloped and/or unclaimed. Such is the tragic outcome of emotional incest by a narcissistic parent.

FROM HERE TO NOCTURNITY

Casanova likes being flirtatious with you, as it fuels his ego when you return what he construes as interest or attraction--but that doesn't mean he wants to pursue something more. This friendly/suggestive banter between you may span months or even years--but the moment you take the initiative to make yourself more available, he'll back-peddle like crazy. Instantly, there are all kinds of obstacles that prevent his meeting outside the confines of your safe interplay. This guy seems accessible--and yet he's terrified of closeness with any female, he might actually value. If you confront this directly, he'll put it back on your plate; you of course, are the one who's responsible for this not going further--the "mixed signals" are always attributed to you.

Long-term relationships are pretty rare for this guy, due to fears of intimacy. To assuage this concern, he'll be prone to having affairs or triangulating his relationships with various substances or behaviors that help him manage his terror about getting too close, or having someone really matter. You may be the 'perfect' lover or wife, and he'll still cheat--or work far too many hours. It isn't about you. It's about his lifelong struggle with closeness, abandonment and engulfment. You are not equipped to fix this.

So thirsty for narcissistic supply/replenishment is Casanova, he could have emotional affairs with women which seem benign to him--but represent the kind of infidelity to you, that cuts even deeper than sexual betrayal. He can maintain connection with his past lovers in this manner, after promising you he's broken it off. Again, he feels worthless and dead inside without all this auxiliary attention, and the roots of this addiction are buried in his boyhood.

He may tell you every day, that he "loves" you--but his actions don't back it up, and the words start feeling hollow. You'll begin to resent hearing them, as you've recognized they have no meaning anymore, and they never make a dent in your loneliness. Your marriage feels like a sham; he's the roommate now, who still expects husband privileges. His narcissism prevents him from noticing your pain, or identifying with it. He's in his own little bubble, which won't burst until you've left--or kicked him out. This is when you'll see the 'waterworks' (tears) and hear about his remorse. You've probably been here before. Will you forgive him again?

MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO'S THE MEANEST OF THEM ALL?

Borderline males are passive-aggressive. They'll hide out in their caves until you back off anything that pertains to your relationship, rather than have an honest conversation with you, on important issues. With StarrMan, I quickly learned to bury my needs and feelings; the instant I tried to express myself, he'd just shut-down/withdraw. Half the time, I'd work to fix that mess--until my therapist back then, set me straight. There's nothing worse than having someone exit a relationship this way. You're damned if you open your mouth because you get abandoned by him, and damned if you don't, because you're betraying yourself. This song by Willie Nelson may strike a chord.

Passive aggression in the Borderline man, means that he usually fights like a girl. Rather than direct verbal expression about how he actually feels, he'll throw cunty, bitchy, sarcastic comments your way. These are often muttered under his breath--but sometimes, they're loudly hurled at you during a battle and it's impossible to defend yourself. Either way, it's dirty fighting.

God help you, if you point out anything the narcissist or borderline perceives as criticism. Narcissism inhibits the ability to peer into one's own mirror, and see the cracks there. Neither of these personality disorders can tolerate any deficits or shortcomings within the Self; that would involve the capacity to view their real nature--rather than just the false-self they've constructed to defend against inner fragility. The Narcissist would sooner amputate you out of his life, and cut off the offending part (you) that's highlighted his failings, than maintain connection (no matter how nourishing the attachment).

When you've failed to perfectly mirror/reflect the Narcissist, you're no longer considered a favorable extension of himself, and he swiftly removes you like a cancerous growth. Nobody is exempt from being excised; not his child, his sibling, his therapist, his closest buddy, nobody. The intense shame that's invoked when you've seen behind his grandiose mask, is the primary reason he keeps himself at arms length in Love. Such was the demise of my thirty-year friendship with Brybaby.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPRAH

Your Borderline may assure you of how much 'therapy' he's had. In my world, there's a humongous difference between psychotherapy and healing work. If he still struggles with an active eating disorder or substance abuse problem, and his passive-aggressive behaviors are driving you nuts, there's something very wrong there.

Mr. Movie Make-up was the Classic Narcissist who needed to be needed. This was a sexy little guy, and I wanted to get into his knickers--but oh, what a price I paid. His emotional ambivalence and mixed signals were so blatant, he inspired my piece on passive aggression. It was quite obvious, he had to control the nature and pacing of his relationships. A comment he'd made on our second date, informed me there was zero potential for any future; "I'm a vegan-vegetarian, and that's my religion. I can't see myself building a life with someone who owns leather furniture."

That was ok--I wanted his body. I grew fond of him, but compartmentalized the sex (which wasn't all that hard, in this case). His comments throughout our affair implied he had me in the girlfriend box (or needed me to think so), but I knew the instant I got on that train, I'd be bumped at the next stop. Since he couldn't control my emotions, he had to control the sex. In short, he cut me off. When I asked about this, he denied anything was wrong. He'd feign illness to avoid making love, but then he'd tease and arouse me--only to depart, and leave me hanging. Underneath his 'nice guy' facade, this man is sadistic, which kept manifesting sexually during our time together:

Chronic premature ejaculation is a passive-aggressive issue that's a facet of male impotency. It demonstrates a desire for attachment--but a deep fear of it, as well. Casanova's quick orgasmic release serves only him of course, and the woman's needs be damned. To be clear; this is a male's withholding on the most intimate level of human contact there is, and it's latent unresolved rage from childhood.

The acting-out behaviors don't start immediately, but the lying usually does. He'll tell you what he needs you to believe about him--nothing more or less. If you haven't grown to rely on your instincts and intuitions (past childhood), you could be a sitting duck for this guy. Our extra-sensory aspects are God-given at birth, and they're meant to serve and protect us! Many of us were taught not to trust our senses/perceptions as kids, which gets us into a ton of trouble later on. Shutting down or discarding difficult feelings early in life, leaves us with deficits that come back to haunt us, in adulthood. Even your fight or flight reflex is on the blink, because you've learned to think your way through life, as opposed to feeling your way along. This can be fixed.

ONCE UPON A TIME, IN A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY . . .

You keep wondering what has happened to that amazing connection you felt initially, because it's feeling very different now. These changes tend to creep on rather insidiously; perhaps his nasty moods were prompted by something work related, or someone else. Naturally, you might have tried to comfort or cheer him up--but this often made him more irritable or angry. He may have told you it had nothing to do with you--but it certainly didn't feel that way. Despite all this, you've courageously hung in there, hoping to recapture that delicious sense of intimacy and closeness you shared at the start, but the more you've reached for it, the more it's eluded you.

You can't initiate any conversations about these disconcerting changes that aren't turned right back on you; "If you would only be more understanding, patient, supportive, loving, etc., this relationship could be great." You'll look for the grain of truth in his reasoning, because you're an adult who's learned to pull your own covers off, and take responsibility for your actions. But he'll never do this! You may occasionally hear an "I'm sorry," though he's way too damaged and narcissistic to admit any errors or shortcomings.

In truth, mostly everything this man dumps on you, is a projection. You're a bit too willing to absorb it, due to some unresolved childhood pain--and the fact that you've been too hard on yourself, all these years. Dealing with his abuse feels easier than being alone with You, because when you're beating-up on yourself, you can't defend against your attacker. Stop that!

IF IT LOOKS, WALKS AND QUACKS LIKE A DUCK, IT'S A DUCK.

Spousal abuse is just one of the ways that borderline pathology plays out in men. Borderline males live with substantial emotional wounds left over from childhood, that are difficult to face--much less, feel. It's considerably easier for males to be mad than sad--and since anger is an activating emotion, it provides temporary relief from more vulnerable sensations, like depression, guilt, self-loathing, fear, disempowerment, etc. We get a far more accurate picture of a Borderline's inner pain, when he's crying and deeply remorseful, after landing his wife or girlfriend in a hospital's emergency ward. This is the only time he can express fragile emotions, without intense self-reproach. To suggest that domestic violence goes on between normal folks, is lunacy.

Casanova has cut-off/dissociated from difficult feelings since early boyhood, so his capacity for genuine emotions is severely limited. If he could feel true remorse, there'd be emotional growth--and he wouldn't keep repeating these brutal/destructive acts! Sobbing and pleadings for forgiveness are associated with abandonment trauma left over from boyhood. His deep sense of despair after painful beatings or a parent's withdrawal for perceived transgressions (no matter how 'perfectly' he behaved), left him with shame. Toxic shame is not related to your injuries--it's a remnant from his childhood anguish.

Infant neglect and childhood abuse are at the crux of this disorder. Whether his wounds are from physical beatings or psychic/emotional damage, they've undermined his sense of Self. There could be sexual molestation or incest in his background, which left him with questions concerning his sexual identity, or the viability of his masculine essence. Compensatory behaviors that help mitigate this brand of boyhood shame and/or guilt, can include addictions to pedophilia and porn. Self-worth issues stemming from childhood will erupt in some way, at some point. A man who was raised by a volatile, violent father and passive/victim mother, is likely to settle on partners who have his dad's traits, while adopting the mother's passivity as his own. Since she's elicited his sympathy and concern, she's the parent with whom he can identify (and is the lesser of two evils, in fact). Childhood beatings do not in themselves, spawn Borderline pathology. The roots of this disorder involve betrayal by an adult 'caregiver,' who fails to protect a child from harm, or another's cruelty. It appears that singer, Michael Jackson was a tragic victim of this upbringing.

It's a commonly known fact, that the Jackson kids suffered terrible abuses at the hands of their father, while their mother appears to have turned a blind eye to it, and hid behind her religious convictions. In my opinion, she's more responsible for her children's emotional and psychological disturbances.

How can any child fault the parent who's so devout, and blatantly pious? He can't! Even the notion of doing so, is tantamount to challenging God, which is considered a "sin" that threatens to bring far more wrath. In a sense, he's imprisoned by a warden who overlooks the atrocities that are dealt him.

The parental roles may of course be reversed, if the mother is the more toxic or dangerous presence, and the father's passive nature is to hide-out in his work--or indulge various addictions/compulsions. Twelve-step programs and strong religious affiliations can also help him escape the constant torment, haranguing and abuse that lands on his defenseless kids instead. A parent who scapegoats their child for abuse by the other parent, is in my opinion, a despicable coward.

I'm always astounded, when I work with clients who have any trust in God or sense of spirituality, when they've survived horrible cruelty at the hands of their parents! To a small child, the parent IS a god--someone he/she trusts implicitly and automatically, to protect and care for them. The stories I hear are utterly heartbreaking, in context of the pain these people have endured, and I'm amazed at their capacity to even approach trusting me.

THE PRINCE OF TIDES

When you own a vagina, you're targeted for Casanova's charm and charisma, because he must win you over, to satisfy his profound needs for validation. Even therapeutic professionals are 'open game' for someone with borderline features. Some have stated they couldn't work with me, because (regardless of our huge age disparity), I'm "too attractive." I saw this as their seduction compulsion, and avoidance/reluctance to doing the work it takes to get well.

If a Borderline is in treatment, the therapist is an 'object' to manipulate and bend to his control, because he must control all of his relationships. He'll be alternately seductive and belligerent during treatment--yep, a regular Jekyll and Hyde. Some weeks, the therapist is "brilliant," and he's ecstatic to have found him/her. Other sessions, he's devaluing, argumentative, petulant, etc. This all good/all bad reflex is central to borderline pathology; it's referred to, as splitting. You literally feel like you need a shower afterwards, to wash off the toxic residue that's left in his wake.

Significant lapses in his childhood memory are silent clues as to how much abuse, neglect and emotional betrayal he had to endure and dissociate from as a little boy. I've seen tremendous denial in these men, with reference to idealization of one parent, and rejection of the other--based on who they've come to believe inflicted the least or most psychic injury. The Borderline in treatment may be 'A Lifer' in long-term care, particularly if he's tried to get his needs met through standard therapy. He's armored, and his defenses are thick, and often impenetrable.

Neither Borderlines nor Narcissists can tolerate therapeutic misattunements. Their desire to distance or cut off therapy (especially when it's getting close to a nerve or breakthrough), is pretty common. Some of these individuals try to flood themselves with numerous other modalities that help diffuse their reliance on any single source for help (I call this The Buckshot Method); such is the extent of their attachment concerns and abandonment terror. A sound, meaningful therapeutic endeavor helps one experience corrective, authentic interplay leading to conflict resolution, which involves two beings. The client ideally takes this newfound ability into his private world, having learned the critical distinction between two hands clapping, rather than just one--which his narcissism had halted earlier. Naturally, the question begs to be asked: Where else would he learn intimacy skills??

Casanova often plays musical chairs with therapists. His needs are profound, but given his inherent trust issues, there's less threat if he spreads himself thin--and has a stable to choose from, the minute he's in crisis. He's a serial patient, who's unlikely to spend any more than two years (consecutively) in treatment. There's a separation/individuation issue that's stirred before this juncture, which activates subtle anxiety surrounding his fears of dependency and abandonment. If this natural stage isn't addressed by the therapist, and resolution cannot be gained, the client leaves--feeling that his needs can no longer be responded to. Sadly, Casanova's difficulties are characterological, meaning intrinsic or core to how he's orchestrated his life and relationships. Inevitably, the same issues resurface in his next romantic catastrophe, and he begins anew with another therapist. Why won't he resume with the last one who helped? His shame at being back in this hole in the road prevents it--and his fragile ego can't handle being that exposed or vulnerable.

If this male's mother had BPD Waif features, he grew up having to meet her needs for attention, mirroring, flattery, emotional soothing, etc. She could have made him her confidant in adult matters--especially concerning issues with his dad. A small child is overburdened by these complaints, and doesn't relish this role--but at the same time, all this special attention from Mother imbues him with a sense of value/importance--which forms the crux of his self-worth. Her awareness of his needs is painfully limited, so he welcomes this 'surrogate husband' job, which (at least) provides vicarious satisfaction. This sets him up for codependent relationships in his adult world, for being needed is his only way of bolstering/replenishing a very tenuous self-image.

Codependency and engulfment concerns resulting from this boyhood dynamic are then transferred onto all later attachments. There's an automatic reflex that comes into play with a mother-enmeshed man. Sensations of closeness are entwined with loss of Self. Thus, his inner narrative becomes; "if I get too close to you, I'll have to relinquish too much of me." Commitment has gotten confused with engulfment, which means having to give up important needs and freedoms. Hence, profound control issues have evolved, and he'll only choose females with whom he thinks he can maintain the upper hand. A needy, BPD female perfectly fits this paradigm--at least at the onset. A man who persistently chooses borderline women, has severe attachment fears.

If his therapist is especially nurturing/caring, a borderline disordered male's engulfment concerns are triggered--particularly if he'd felt responsible for his parent's happiness/well-being as a boy. He has little frame of reference for someone being responsive to his needs, and his grandiosity can't tolerate it. He must remain in the one-up position with all his relationships, and destroy any type of connection that doesn't afford him this opportunity. This issue is especially common in patients who are psychotherapists.

Solid inner work can invoke feelings of needing the therapist, which instantly produce anxiety. This catalyzes his reflex to sabotage that relationship with 'tests' he suspects may result in abandonment. If this occurs, his entrenched belief that anyone who could have value/importance to him will let him down or leave, becomes prophesy fulfillment. Sadly, this reflex keeps real love at bay--and he'll continue to dabble with Borderlines (and clinicians), who have no real capacity to meet his intrinsic needs.

It isn't that Casanova can't be helped--it's that he won't be. He sets up all his relationships in such a manner that they have no choice, but to abandon him. He'll act-out by confounding and undermining any nourishing/supportive presence that comes his way. Even after decades of focused, psychodynamic treatment, childhood issues of unworthiness and shame stay entrenched and implacable. His mother was easily overwhelmed and incapable of adequately responding to his needs during infancy and boyhood. From this, he concluded that meaningful, helpful attention and assistance were not available to him. Borderlines are compelled to reconstitute the early frustrations and deficits that prompted their intense need for control. This control shows up in their therapeutic dyad, as resistance to healing and growth.

For the Borderline, winning takes precedence over getting well. Thus ensues an endless power struggle with the clinician. His narcissism resents anyone's expertise or wisdom eclipsing his, so he's prone to selecting therapists who aren't equipped to meet his needs. The ones who have the capacity to help, jostle his defenses, and heighten his competitive reflexes. The one element that can actually assist him in healing, is the thing he dreads most--which is surrendering to someone's care. Even the loss of a dysfunctional identity (en route to becoming sound and whole), is too frightening to ponder.

THE NATURE OF THE BEAST

Guys think, feel and function very differently than you--and the gargantuan mistake that women make, is presuming they don't! See the film, He's Just Not That Into You--and learn more about males. When you've had sex with somebody early-on (like your first or second date), it's because you've seen something you think is 'special' about him--but he doesn't view it that way; he simply assumes you're 'easy,' and you've put-out for any guy who's come along! For a male to feel special about himself (or you), he must work to win you. This ideology starts during boyhood, when he's saving up his allowance or paper route money for the things he really wants. When he can finally afford to buy whatever that is, he places great value on it and treats it with respect and care. If there's fire in your panties and you're just needing sex, none of this matters--but if you're looking for love, you'd better start pacing yourself, no matter what your age or generation.

Borderlines are narcissistic, and incapable of empathy (the capacity to relate to your feelings and needs). When it comes to gift-giving, they'll purchase what they think you should have, as opposed to what you actually want or need--unless they're in the seduction phase. A great example, was Bob the Narcissist. Despite my solid fashion acumen, he insisted on buying me some clothes (I'm missing a chromosome, and hate to shop--you've gotta hold a gun to my head, to get me into a mall). After a bit of a struggle, Bob took me to The Gap, then approved (or didn't), everything I tried on. He vetoed all of my choices, and we left with very little--which was fine by me. To say this man was controlling, is a gross understatement! Bob would invite me to his home, and then take a shower--without leaving his entry door unlocked. By the sixth or seventh time this goofy thing happened, I was frustrated and furious enough to pummel him when he let me inside. I'm thinkin' metaphor here--but as he was twenty years my senior, maybe it was just senility.

Casanova is dangerous, not only because he's capable of physically violent acts--but because the emotional stress of this relationship, takes its toll on your body! Numerous women (both friends and clients) have reported serious ailments, such as severe colon disorders, breast or uterine cancers, stomach problems, migraine headaches, etc., in the wake of these involvements--and these were all physically fit/healthy ladies before they met their Borderline.

You might have composed lengthy, loving, rational emails, which described recent events leading up to a perplexing rupture, while viewing it generously from both sides, and offering well-considered solutions to avert these types of speed-bumps from occurring again--but your efforts were futile. If you've read those tomes after your love affair ended, you'd see how hard you tried to make it work--and it would have, if you'd been with someone reasonably healthy and sane.

Borderlines and Narcissists are emotionally undercooked, which leaves them pretty short-sighted--especially when it involves making promises they can't or won't keep. They're pathological liars, who say things in the moment they don't really mean, to lure you with fantasies for a sublime tomorrow. I once knew a guy (Dan the Ferrari Man) who stated very early on, that he wanted to protect me, take care of me, and make the world a safer place. Frankly, my world wasn't an unsafe place--but no matter how independent a woman is, there aren't many of us who don't want to hear those words from a main squeeze (I think it's hard-wired into our DNA). With time, I started trusting that he meant these premature declarations, and lowered my guard--which was the beginning of our end. This fellow couldn't handle real emotions--not his own, and most definitely, not mine.

Now honey, if you are still intent on dating a borderline man, rent the movie Lonely Hearts starring John Travolta and Salma Hayek. If after you see this film, you're wanting to be with/stay with a borderline disordered male, strike up a pen-pal relationship with an inmate on death row, at any penitentiary of your choosing. At least he's behind bars, and you'll be safer from harm. Or you could write to O.J. Simpson instead.

THE MATRIMONY BALONEY

When a man's been married more than twice, do not rest assured that he's capable of committing! Commitment is an emotional issue, not a legal one. If he's got several failed marriages behind him, don't be naive and buy into his stories about all those other women who failed to love him well enough, or you could be number five. This guy has made a career of matrimony--and tosses women aside like tissues. In reality, he can't tolerate living alone (or being with himself).

Given his inherent distrust of females, Casanova might never marry--or if he does, it's very late in life, when he begins to sense that he'll need someone around to take care of him, if/when he can't get it up--or he's too old or sick to care about it. If you wed an aging guy, you'd better get your nurse's hat out of storage, and prepare to be his caregiver and mommy.

There is no problem with somebody making a conscious decision not to get hitched. Not everyone is cut out for cohabitation, marriage and/or kids, and understanding/respecting this about yourself and staying true to it, is every adult's prerogative. But an over-ripe Casanova marries by default, and that's just not right, or fair to his partner.

Benjy was an old buddy who decided in his late sixties, to "settle down." He talked of wanting to marry, and I'm thinkin' yah--to the winner go the spoils! This guy had more notches on his bedpost than Carter has liver pills, but he was finally "ready" to march down the aisle with someone he could stand to keep around--if she was wealthy. Was he God's gift to women? Hardly.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE A TROUBLED GUY, 101

When you've started dating, and he tells you he likes and respects his mom, explore this a bit further. If he claims she's a Saint or Angel, run like hell! A man who keeps his mother on a pedestal, is a dangerous man to love. First of all, he's in heavy denial and hopelessly enmeshed--and if he wasn't able to separate his needs and feelings from Mom's, he won't have learned to do it with you! If she's still alive, you'll be competing with her for his attention. If she's dead, you will forever compete with his pristine memory of her--and never measure-up. Either way, this spells disaster. There's a huge difference between a guy who's had issues with Mother, and a man who's worked them through in a solid/nourishing therapeutic endeavor, and dismantled his rage and mistrust. He could have chosen to 'divorce' her, if their relationship felt too poisonous--but it's critical that he heals from this boyhood trauma, and identifies/resolves the issues he's inherited (like narcissism), thanks to her.

It isn't that these men are bad people--but they could be badly damaged. It is this damage, that inhibits their capacity to sustain loving, intimate bonds. Many have attributes and qualities that are enviable and admirable--in fact, I wish I'd bronzed one or two of 'em for my mantle! All kidding aside, these guys can be generous and sweet until they've hooked you--and by then, it's too late to extract yourself from their clutches. Pay attention to the pacing in your relationships; when a male comes-on to you like gangbusters, watch your back! Once you're His, you'll be put under a microscope, while he looks for even the most miniscule excuses not to love you--so regardless of how fantastic you are, he'll always manage to find a fly in the ointment.

His search for the 'perfect female' is twofold; he's grown up feeling that he needs to be perfect (devoid of darker feelings or facets), to gain his parent's love or approval--and his attachment fears keep him from loving someone he can actually have.

A Borderline can seduce you for the heck of it--or when he's not interested in pursuing you. A caregiver type I've known for many years is so narcissistic, he thinks he's being noble/altruistic with his tender gestures--while sending hurtful, confusing signals to women. No female wants a 'pity fuck,' or even a kiss, if it isn't heartfelt. His seduction routine is splendidly orchestrated, and he's diabolical. Dating his patients, not only illustrates this Casanova's poor sense of boundaries and impulse control--it's an ethical breach, that could cost him his license to practice medicine! Professional and personal risks of this magnitude, are frequently taken by emotionally myopic Borderlines.

This needy guy may phone you a lot during your day, but have little to say. It's as if he needs to know that you're there--but meaningful conversations aren't his strong suit, and you'll begin to wonder about these boring, lifeless exchanges. You might get to a place where you think you should let some of these go to voicemail, but you're scared about any repercussions that might catalyze. What if you hurt his feelings? Will you have to answer a barrage of questions later on about what you were doing, that had you not responding to his calls? Are you inclined to take far better care of him, than yourself??

Every woman who attaches to a Borderline has difficulty accepting that she's adored someone who has psychotic features--no matter how pronounced his disturbing behaviors have been. Her childhood might have been punctuated with distressing or painful experiences, that left behind a relational blueprint that has predetermined self-worth and partner selection. This early blueprint can undermine romantic endeavors, and destroy solid/nourishing friendships.

"Water seeks its own level," as the saying goes. We're attracted to people who match our own level of emotional development. If you've fallen for a Borderline, perhaps it's time you learn about your abandonment issues and attachment fears, so you can avoid reproducing this agony you're in right now.

AFTER THE FALL - IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS OF THE MOURNING.

Casanova's strategies for winning you over are myriad--but when the affair's over, you're left with this excruciating ache for that fellow who swept you off your little feet. You'll only remember the good times of course--if this were untrue, no woman would sign-up for the pain of childbirth, more than once!

A Borderline can leave you abruptly, which is nothing short of devastating. He may pin it on some kind of deal-breaker that suddenly seems untenable--like an age disparity between you, your inability to bear a child, those little habits he found adorable--but can't stand now, etc. You'll feel shocked and bewildered when he leaves you for someone new, or returns to a former love he'd always bitched about, while you patiently listened and comforted. This hurts like your leg has been amputated. It's that bad. Your pain won't faze him. He lacks humanity.

In the aftermath of this affair, you've tortured yourself by assuming that this failure must be your fault--and wondering what you might have said or done differently, to make it work. You're left with shame and painful regret about "what went wrong?" and it seems like an eternity before you can even trust yourself enough, to contemplate getting involved again. The male Borderline is irresistible to females: He's generous with his time and affection, he's a good listener, he gives you presents very early in your relationship (like your first or second date) and seems utterly captivated by you. The trouble starts when he's captured you. There's no way you could have seen this train wreck coming.

It's not that you want his crazy-making antics back, it's that you're having a hard time sitting with the shame of feeling rejected/discarded. At the heart of these intense sensations, are the 'leftovers' from childhood abandonment. This archaic pain is being stirred-up right now--but with a little help, you can surmount it.

"CAN'T WE STILL BE FRIENDS??"

You'll likely hear this question posed in slightly different ways by your soon-to-be-ex-Borderline. Take a moment here, and ask yourself what friendship means to you--and if you've ever been treated with such disrespect, lack of concern and dishonesty in any relationship you've come to regard as one you could trust. Friends aren't just acquaintances--these are folks we've learned (over time) we can rely on to have our back, as we have theirs. The male borderline wants to keep you around to indulge his Ego. Sure, you might get some benefit out of this deal, if you can get him to work on your car, your house or body, but this prize isn't worth the price you'll pay for maintaining contact. This has never been a reciprocal relationship--and it ain't about to become one now! Your self-respect has suffered in this relationship, which will also be true in your "friendship." If your fixing/rescuing compulsions are so deeply entrenched, that you're willing to dangle on the sidelines while he interviews new victims, get prepared for some painful, humiliating times up ahead. You have been duly warned. Proceed at your own peril.

ARE YOU A MAGNET FOR NARCISSISTS AND BAD BOYS?

A borderline disordered male could seem nonchalant about your romance at the start, or after you're involved for a relatively short period. If your sense of worth is healthy enough to go looking for somebody who appreciates you, the very instant Casanova senses there's competition on the scene, he'll be fixated on winning you back. Don't accept that his pronouncements of love are authentic at this juncture--his ego can't tolerate your interest shifting to someone else, and it's really as simple as that! His impassioned response is all about him--not about you, or your importance to him. If you fall for this seduction ploy, it won't be long before you're feeling insignificant again--in fact, it's pretty darned close to when he has finally worn you down and won you over (for the umteenth time).

Stalking can be a serious problem, if he suspects you're seeing another man. Be sure and keep a low profile, and guard your date's property (and yours as well). Borderlines usually act-out their jealousy, insecurity, jilted egos, etc., with snooping around your private world and vandalism, so avoid rubbing his nose in your business! Keep your new activities out of venues like Facebook and MySpace, change your locks, mount motion detector lights around your home, and file a restraining order if necessary. Be wise--don't tempt fate. In other words, don't harpoon his ego, as there's often a heavy price to pay.

A former client could not resist plastering her web page with a new romance, despite my vehement, cautionary warnings. When she divorced her husband, he sued her for gobs of money--which she's still trying to pay off. In short, he got even in the only way he knew how, to salve his poor, brutalized ego. Frankly, I couldn't blame him. Castrating any male is dangerous. Castrating a Borderline, can be deadly--or at the very least, extremely costly.

If you're persistently drawn to narcissistic men, there were serious deficits in consistent, nourishing support and affection during your childhood (usually with Mother), that set you up for distressing, confusing relational dynamics in your adult life. Your abandonment issues aren't about the father who left when you were an infant or small child, they're about emotional deficiencies in the parent who raised you! This relationship template from your girlhood keeps you choosing the 'Mr. Wrongs,' until you're ready to tackle some inner-healing work.

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION, IS WORTH A BLOODY POUND OF CURE.

The way to avoid getting involved with a Borderline, is to smell his neurosis at the start. Pay very close attention to how his interactions make you feel. I met an absolutely gorgeous man one evening when I was out on the town. We had a pleasant exchange, and Mr. Spago insisted on taking me to dinner soon--but kept asking what I saw in him; a definite red flag! This guy was revealing how insecure he was, and that he'd already begun projecting into our future, which means he's uncomfortable with the present (hasn't learned to feel his way along). He called later that night, and his message conveyed how much he had enjoyed meeting me (good stuff). There were more than a few voicemails from him over the next several days--but you'll love this; he never left me a contact number--at least, not until he likely grew frustrated that I wasn't just hanging around, waiting for the phone to ring (an indicator of control issues).

Don't ever assume you'll rescue a man from his insecurities or self-loathing. If he doesn't feel worthy of admiration, love and respect, you're not gonna change that for him--and he'll think something's wrong with you, for trying! I never actually spoke with Mr. Spago, but left him an office voicemail, saying that this wasn't a fit for me, and I didn't care to pursue it. True to Borderline nature, all his later messages were sorrowful, manipulative, diminishing and shaming. I did not respond. And yes, I'd dodged a bullet.

Any man who can't/won't give you direct access, is either trying to hide that he's already involved/married--or ashamed of his job. Mr. Spago's excuse for not giving me his cell phone #, was that his "clients" would be disturbed by these calls while he was working--but he seemed fine with leaving his pager number (eventually). Yeah, like I'm a moron--who hasn't any clue about the vibration features on each. All I'm saying, is stay alert. If something seems like it makes no sense or it's kinda nuts--trust that it is.

This also holds true for guys who try to put the ball in your court for contact, or making plans. If he gets you to be The Pursuer (and play the man's role), he's off the hook for any future responsibility, if/when it doesn't work out; after all dear lady, You came after him! Continue searching for a Man whose testicles are bigger than yours.

A guy who doesn't at least ask for your number before he offers his, is afraid of rejection, insecure or simply not interested. He might reference this, as being sensitive to/considerate of your privacy--but it's a ruse. When he just hands you his business card or writes his phone on a cocktail napkin, toss it into the trash on your way out of the joint. You'll be chasing a boy, and this Fairytale has no happy ending.

 

*The names in this piece have been changed to protect the guilty. If you're a male who has spent time in my life, and you recognize yourself within the body of this material, I sincerely thank you for your unwitting contribution to this work. It's my hope that it may light your path toward healing.

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

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

OUTGROWING YOUR ADDICTION

COULD MY BPD LOVER BE RIGHT ABOUT ME??

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

www.RightHealth.com has linked to this article under their "top websites" on the topic of Borderline Men.

Many of you have requested that I write about the male borderline, so I've finally succumbed to peer pressure (which is rarer than a full solar eclipse). My romantic exposure to full-blown borderlines has thankfully been limited. I have dated several Narcissists for about three minutes who had BPD traits, but I've side-stepped the rest. I think the real trick is, when it begins to feel weird or wacky, it's a warning of what's to follow, so get out while you can. These difficulties do not get better "with time"--in fact, they get a whole lot worse! You might benefit from my articles on borderline females; change the gender, and you will relate to much of that material. If you're wanting help, call my number in L.A. or N.Y. anytime.

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 four to six weeks.

 

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