TO TRAIN YOUR BORDERLINE
Crucial Strategies for Living with a BPD Partner
By Shari Schreiber,
literature is written for males who (for whatever
purposes) are making a conscious, deliberate choice to maintain
their relationship with a borderline disordered individual
. . . and are hoping to survive it.
you're a female who has been diagnosed with BPD, or believe you're
living with borderline personality features, please exit this page
immediately, as it is not intended for your consumption.
you Non's who are remaining, there is one inalienable truth you'll
have to accept before proceeding: It is You who must be
willing/able to change (not your Borderline)
to alleviate the chaos/drama in your relationship. This task falls
to you, because it's simpler for you to learn tools and
strategies to navigate this course, than for your BPD partner to
acquire enough emotional development to alter this painful, chaotic
dynamic you share.
am not suggesting by any stretch of the imagination, that this will
be easy for you--it's just the more practical and sound
choice, if you're going to stick with a Borderline for any undetermined
isn't some magical fix, so the two of you can sail happily off into
the sunset together (that's impossible to accomplish with a Borderline).
It's a way to reduce some of the turmoil, drama and stress you've
experienced in this crazy-making dance with your BPD lover.
important to understand that your emotions have been tampered with
and manipulated from the very start of this relationship.
As the Borderline tells you about her past lovers and how they've
disappointed her, she's (indirectly) warning you about how not
to behave in order to keep her. Her stories are cloaked as
'intimacy,' so they inspire your sympathy for her and disdain for
those other men, and make you determine not to be anything
like them! Most BPD individuals are pathological liars, but you'll
feel no need (as a naive new suitor) to doubt/question the validity
of these ridiculous tales.
think that winning
this girl over will be easy, for you're nothing like those "abusive,
selfish" guys before you. You're likely a People Pleaser~ one
of the 'good guys' who cherishes women, and wants to make
them happy. Your wife or girlfriend's desires and needs always come
first with you, and you're 'Johnny on the spot,' when it comes to
taking charge with any problem or difficulty she encounters. You're
even-tempered, and almost never angry. When you do express
any angry feelings, you feel guilty afterward. You're much more
comfortable giving than receiving, and you're quick to put your
own needs aside to respond to someone else's. When you get upset,
you're unlikely to speak about it, and you've swept a lot of feelings
under the rug your whole life, for fear of losing another's approval
or affection. In essence, you quietly navigate your existence trying
not to upset others (desperately hoping they'll like you), and measure
your worth by whether someone responds positively
or negatively to you. Sadly, all this is a faulty carryover from
your childhood, and it has to be repaired.
and foremost, you must understand that passivity is The Kiss
of Death in any relationship with a Borderline. This principle
holds true for therapists
who treat individuals with BPD, as well. Quite simply, they need
firm limits and boundaries set for them throughout your time together.
In short, you must gain control over your BPD relationship!
To continue believing that you don't, just invites and promotes
a 99% likelihood that you grew up with a passive, accommodating
dad and domineering/controlling mom, and that was the original 'blueprint'
from which you designed and built your own relationship. Your selection
was subconsciously determined, as you witnessed no alternate frame
of reference for a more healthy, loving interaction between two
adults. Your father may have been a gentle, sweet guy~ but he gave
you no sense whatsoever, for what meant to be a self-respecting
You may have had a rageful, frightening dad and passive/victim-type
mom. You didn't want to be monsterously scary like Father when you
grew up, so you identified more with Mother's passivity, and emulated
her instead (as she seemed the lesser of two evils). Problem
is, you've thrown the baby out with the bathwater and amputated
all darker feelings completely out of your emotional repertoire.
This has left you with a partial personality, rather than
a healthy, whole one.
was ferocious/volatile, and you saw a hardworking dad who tried
to satisfy her every whim and desire, you accepted and integrated
that males are to be manipulated/controlled by a partner who always
gets her way--and you're programmed
to keep giving, when precious little is returned.
every male who's seeking help to navigate these relational dynamics,
thinks that passivity is the antidote for their BPD partner's
volatility. The kinder or nicer they are, the more their Borderline
accuses them of neglect or selfishness, and rejects them. This is
agonizingly confounding for any person who views himself as basically
loving, generous and good.
guys keep trying to please despite the
frustration, shame and pain they experience in this type of relationship,
and fear traps them in a never-ending cycle of
torment. Many grew up in a 'war zone' with parents fighting a lot,
and they learned to hide-out in a foxhole and be invisible, to escape
a parent's rage and abuse. Separating from danger is much harder
to do, when you're sleeping with it.
of these men are assertive/aggressive in their work world, but passive
and meek at home. Abandonment concerns prevent them from honoring
their feelings or needs, and taking a stand for themselves. Due
to distressing childhood events, maintaining a sense of safety
has become paramount, and they don't want to rock the boat.
strategy helps boys survive during childhood, but it's counterproductive
to any relationship with a BPD individual, whether it be
a partner, friend or boss. Sadly, this boyhood conditioning remains
entrenched, until solid help is engaged to help him grow self-worth
(which is not dependent on another's approval).
cannot control day to day or week to week whether a Borderline loves
you or hates you (that's about their life-long inner pain and turmoil,
which has nothing whatsoever to do with You!), but you
absolutely must command their respect--it's the
only way to teach them suitable behavior. None
of this has to do with physical violence or volatility of any kind,
mind you. Being assertive does not mean being abusive.
troubled that too many female and male therapists try to feminize
men, and don't honor/respect the quintessential differences between
females and males. They seem to totally disregard the masculine
archetype, while urging men toward greater 'sensitivity.' This clinical
subjectivity is a dangerous misuse of power by clinicians who
fear the primal aspects in men,
and it's castrating. No heterosexual gal wants a passive guy, whether
she's BPD or not!
issue is rampant among clients who come to me after psychotherapeutic
intervention, and it substantially inhibits and delays their ability
to make progress. Bottom line: Males are helped to grow into Men
essential we tackle your passivity. This is part of your
Non's nature that keeps you walking on eggshells with a BPD partner,
not making waves and hoping things can settle down and get better.
Wake-up and smell the coffee! If your Borderline isn't
engaging core-focused healing and growth work, it ain't gonna happen.
one partner in a couple is passive/avoidant,
it forces the other to be active and aggressive. In short,
when you reject your own darker emotions, your partner is saddled
with the task of holding and expressing the feelings for both
of you--and that isn't fair or healthy for any relationship. Nobody
can remain intrigued with a one-dimensional, predictable, cardboard
cut-out of someone~ could You??
might have some trouble accessing any assertive traits within yourself.
Your child's mind automatically presumed the example your parents
set was how adult relationships worked, and you never questioned
their miserable marital dynamic--you simply imitated it. Every child
emulates his/her parents, so if you have kids at home, you are literally
them to replicate your own distressing dynamics when they grow
are bullies, whose bark is substantially bigger than their bite.
If you yield when she pushes rather than pushing back harder,
you've already lost the battle, and things always get worse. Remember,
your Borderline is like a three year old who tests your limits just
to see how much she can get away with, and you can't keep letting
a toddler run (and ruin) your life.
you finally assert yourself with this woman-child, she's likely
to rebel or sulk. She might even get teary or weepy, and accuse
you of being insensitive, narcissistic or controlling. Suddenly,
that ball-busting, bitchy female you've been living with can shape-shift
into a pitiful little victim of your "abuse," and you
may find yourself feeling guilty, and apologizing for crimes you
didn't commit. Dont.
actually providing a 'container' for your Borderline, just as you
would with a child. Your firmness helps your BPD partner or spouse
feel more stable and safe. She will start trying to be
a 'good little girl' to please you, but you will need guidance to
learn how to do this correctly and effectively.
you hadn't become a perfectionistic
adult due to a parent's mistreatment of you during boyhood, you
wouldn't have hooked up with a BPD lover in the first place! Do
not hang around for any dialogues or arguments. Stand your ground
directly and loudly, and immediately take
wise to pre-pack and stow a 'just in-case' valise in the trunk of
your auto, in the event you have to stay out all night to avoid
her toxic rantings. She'll likely phone and text you dozens of times
while you're away, but allow these to go to voicemail, and do
not reply (even if she says the house is burning down)! The
only thing that gets through to a Borderline and causes them to
amend their behaviors, is withdrawal of attention and contact. You
cannot continue rewarding her bad behavior,
hoping things will change! A BPD
Waif might threaten suicide to get you back home. Emotional
blackmail of this type is standard operating procedure for borderline
disordered people. If you believe there's a real
danger of self-harm, send the local cops or fire department
over there to check it out.
have to help you begin retrieving your testicles, because you surely
had to surrender them during boyhood to a domineering/castrating
mom or dad, and these early wounds to your sense of Self have
impacted how you've behaved with your lover, to the point you're
always living with trepidation, fear and dread. In short,
some level of anxiety is always present, and it's just not healthy
are emotionally underdeveloped, and you must literally think of
them like little kids in adult bodies. Just as you'd discipline
a young child by teaching them acceptable versus unacceptable behaviors
and setting firm boundaries and limits, you have to be willing
to do this with your Borderline; it's your only hope of gaining
or peace in this relationship! In essence, if this little girl can't
respect you, she can't desire you. Alas, learning
to assert yourself is crucial, which means you'll likely need help
to launch your own journey toward emotional healing and growth.
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