MY BPD LOVER BE RIGHT ABOUT ME??
The Borderline and You
By Shari Schreiber,
following material was written for individuals trying to recover
from a relationship that's had toxic consequences for them, and
is not intended as a support resourse
for Borderlines or anyone with BPD traits. If you suspect that you
have these traits, please leave this website and redirect your attention
to alternative web content, which might feel more congruent
with your personal views and needs. Thank you.
the snarled web of confusion, self-doubt and shame is by far the
most difficult challenge of separating from a borderline disordered
individual. For weeks, months or even years after your split, you're
still trying to make the pieces of that puzzle fit, which traps
you inside a labyrinth of obsession and yearning.
of the more injurious parts of your relationship with a Borderline,
is it's left you with the endless, tormenting question; "was
it them, or me?" You've probably replayed
this tape in your head hundreds, even thousands of times, regardless
of how many articles you've read here (or elsewhere) that clearly
define borderline traits, and help you comprehend your irresitible
attraction to someone who's brilliant and stunning--but crazy-making
makes absolutely no sense, that you could keep wanting
somebody who's been your cruel/dismissive tormentor, and turned
your world upside-down and inside-out. It's this inner battle between
your rational mind and your painful longing, which has you continuing
to wrestle with this toxic relationship, and that's what we're here
aim of this article is to educate you about this pain you're
in, and assist you with breaking free of it. You might resist reading
this piece, because it's not as much about the Borderline as it
is about You--and the reasons you're still drawn
to him or her. Nearly all my articles on BPD address this in part,
but this one's intended to awaken your consciousness even more,
and start you on your way toward recovering from this trauma.
it them or you??
of you is broken in similar ways, and that's what has drawn you
together, and kept you enmeshed in this torturous, no-win relationship.
doing extensive recovery work with many non-BPD'ers and
Borderlines, I can absolutely guarantee that You've struggled
with the same childhood injuries that spawned abandonment and attachment
issues in your BPD lover. If this were untrue,
you'd be actively seeking partners who would treat you lovingly
and respectfully, rather than in shaming, guilting, rejecting ways.
you let yourself imagine that type of relationship, and
you feel resistance coming up like fear of boredom or feeling trapped,
I've succinctly made my point.
truth of this matter, is that you've been dependent on a BPD partner
to catalyze feelings of aliveness in you, because you're
unable to manufacture them for yourself. This of course, sets you
up for addiction
to a roller coaster kind of relationship, and a borderline lover
is the fix for that craving you feel.
SEEDS OF AN ANCIENT GARDEN
child who grows up in a home that doesn't give him enough affection,
positive mirroring and encouragement, presumes it's his
fault, and he must be untouchable or unwanted. A little kid of 3
or 4 doesn't have the reasoning capacity to discern that the parents
are incapable of providing love. He puts Herculean efforts
into earning their acceptance or praise, which
usually spawns pathological
perfectionism~ but even perfect efforts often go unrewarded.
(You might recall a very similar frustration, while trying to please
your BPD lover, which typically results in performance fatigue).
child assumes that if he tries a little harder to win his
parent's love, it will be forthcoming. Sadly, this fantasy can never
be realized--but he blames himself: "I'm
not good enough" becomes his tragic mantra that's regurgitated
over and over the rest of his life, unless he can locate a healing
modality that fosters self-worth repair and solid emotional
want to look up to our parents. They're our role models, and we
want to respect them and trust them. A Borderline will often think
of her mother as faultless, and someone she could never please or
feel 'good enough' around. This child feels shame for not living
up to her parent's expectations, and presumes it's her own fault~
but this is completely untrue. The deficit lies with the parent--not
truth, both you and your Borderline grew up having to split-off
distressing parts of Mom or Dad in order to surmount pain, from
the lighter aspects in them that helped you stay attached. Every
small child regards his/her parent as a god--but when that 'god'
turns alarmingly rageful before their eyes, it cannot help but implant
this happens, you must work to reconcile these facets with
the parts you love--but the only way to do that, is to excise
them from your parent.
of us adopted this reflex in early childhood, when we had to separate,
compartmentalize or box-up the rageful, crazy, injurious parts of
our parents from their more normal/nourishing facets, so we could
stay attached to him or her. Every time that box toppled
off its shelf, banged us on the head and split open, we scooped-up
the nasty, harmful contents that had spilled out, and stuffed them
back in the box so we could feel close again, until the next
time it happened. This is precisely what
we've done with our BPD lover(s).
'Honeymoon' phase with our Borderline envelops us in intensely euphoric
sensations that make us believe that we've finally found the acceptance
and love we've craved our entire life. We are perfection
in our lover's eyes, and under their adoring gaze we are at last,
able to fall in love with ourselves; such is the definition of infatuation.
These heady, warm/gooey feelings are part of an intricate combination
of bio-chemicals which are flooding our bloodstream and brain, and
they are literally addictive--which sets the stage for obsessive
this phase is somewhat short lived, and if you've ever come
down off of cocaine or crystal meth, you know how steep and
hard that drop is--and you'll give anything in that moment,
for just one more hit.
is when our emotional blueprint from childhood kicks into high gear,
and clouds our judgment. We know we're chasing that initial, intense
high we felt with our Borderline which never works incidentally,
but our vivid recall of that very first 'rush' keeps us striving
effort to overlook, excuse, forgive and forget every assault, indiscretion
and betrayal they've perpetrated on us, because we remember the
euphoric feelings we had at the start~ yet we don't cut ourselves
any slack. (Surely, we must have done something to provoke
them--hadn't we already learned that we were insignificant, flawed
and unworthy of love from our folks??)
opportunity to begin recovering from psychic and emotional injuries
that were implanted during infancy and perpetuated throughout childhood,
shame and guilt often remain entrenched and implacable.
These archaic core sensations powerfully influence our
sense of lovability, and literally set the stage
for undersatisfying and painful romantic selections; "if
I don't believe I'm worth loving, how could You think I am?"
This poor self-worth issue is continually ratified by our unconscious
attraction to narcissistic or borderline disordered partners.
INTO MY PARLOR," SAID THE SPIDER TO THE FLY.
Black Widow spider devours her suitor instantly after mating, which
is a fitting metaphor for what happens when you're in love with
a Borderline. All those dark secrets you've shared are now being
used for ammunition against you, each time it suits him/her to push
you away and punish you for even imagined transgressions.
In short, you've supplied the bullets for their firing squad.
this means is, the exact same emotional wounds you've grown up with
which made you think you were unlovable, are now utilized to re-shame
you, by this monsterously sadistic and dysfunctional individual.
The tragedy here, is that you accept what he/she says to you as
gospel, because this is how you were programmed
to feel about yourself during childhood, and it never occurs to
you, to consider how untrustworthy and lacking in character
might be brilliantly accomplished in your chosen field, but the
Borderline is exquisitely adept at discovering where your deficits
and vulnerabilites are buried, and presenting him/herself as A
Guru on topics relating to wellness, spirituality, emotional
growth, etc. He or she might consistently coax you to let down your
guard, and allow yourself to be assisted by them in an arena you
haven't quite successfully navigated thus far (like "real loving,"
part of you can acknowledge your diminished skill within this domain,
and may have wished for a lover you could (some day) count on, to
help you with it. So you work hard to remove any armor or obstacles
that impede this aim, and hand your heart
over to your partner, for they've convinced you that this is the
essential key to unlocking theirs!! You really
want to trust it's true, so you can maintain
this intoxicating bond--but that's when you're dropped on your head.
might pick a fight with you right before/after your engagement party
or wedding, which could involve their "lack of trust in
You," for cheating on your spouse (with them) or a litany
of other incidents that happened eons ago! It doesn't matter how
absurd their argument is, you are constantly vilified for
a 'sin' you will never hear the end of--and
you can take that to the bank (or your grave, which ever comes first).
might have been nagged for months/years to leave your family, and
live happily ever after with your BPD lover--only to be
rejected, as soon as you're free. The game is over, when a Borderline
can make you jump through hoops of fire, to give them what they
say they want. Any exceptions? No.
individual who respects and likes him/herself isn't swept up in
this type of dynamic, because their lover's perspective of them
in no way even closely resembles their own! Emotionally
sound/healthy people sense the difference between a misunderstanding
or need for conflict resolution, and abuse.
THE TWIG IS BENT, SO GROWS THE TREE.
presume their parents know them better than anyone
else, but this is actually seldom true. The narcissistic parent
wants his/her child to be a perfect reflection or 'clone' of him/herself,
and there's absolutely no room for that kid to develop his own talents,
abilities or personality traits, separate from Mom or Dad. If he's
not just like the parents or (God forbid), echoes any negative
aspects in them, he is ridiculed, criticized or punished, which
prompts shameful feelings. He accepts/integrates this parental view
of him-self, because he lacks an alternate frame of reference for
when this kid gets kudos or kindness from other adults, he will
distrust it--because how could they see qualities
in him, his own parents haven't??
adults, when the Borderline's jealousy cuts us off from other attachments
to family and friends and he/she begins finding fault with us, it
goes directly to the heart of our childhood
injury. We're reflexively prone to believe that their warped
view of us is accurate--exactly as we did when we were little, and
didn't yet have the reasoning capacity to know it wasn't
damaged people are hard on themselves. They could have left home
to escape abuse--but keep it alive, with habitual self-criticism,
which is self-sabotage that goes well beyond any harm another can
inflict on us.
need for relief from self-flagellation
makes us return to the Borderline's poisonous well for another drink--no
matter how hurtful they are to us. Their abuse is easier
to tolerate than ours when we're alone, for when we're
beating-up on ourselves, we can't defend against our attacker.
SHAME, SPLITTING, AND DEATH OF THE REAL SELF
'splitting' reflex in BPD gets entrenched during childhood, and
we automatically use it against ourselves. The caregiver, fixer/rescuer-type
person has effectively amputated all darker facets and emotions
out of their own persona. He/she has become a cardboard cutout of
a person, who is devoid of natural human dimensions like
anger, envy, sadness, etc. It's impossible to feel whole and complete
with these missing personality aspects, and we're
subconsciously drawn to those who have them, to achieve
a greater sense of balance or wholeness.
Borderlines and non-Borderlines have adopted this split-off
kind of self-view,
which drives passive-aggression
and irrepressible explosive outbusts that undermine any
relationship dynamic (no matter how well it begins).
can live 'in the light' all the time. It's unnatural and
Christ my dear readers, had a temper.
your Borderline has split him/herself into black and white
all-good/all-bad, they do the same with you. As they cannot tolerate
'imperfect' traits in themselves, and have excised them from their
personality structure, how can they accommodate any of yours? Still,
you "love" them anyway--even if it's triggered by a sense
of obligation (a moldy leftover from your childhood).
time their more favorable/desirable aspects show up, you think they're
here to stay--and determine that you must be the
insane one. This became your survival
strategy as a child, or you would have packed a knap-sack and taken
off on your own, at three or four! Sticking around despite
the pain, has been practical/logical from a youngster's standpoint--but
you're still doing it.
helplessness is a remnant from your painful childhood
drama, which is perpetually re-enacted, until you make up your mind
to get Well.
your childhood left you with self-worth issues, you've done a great
job of compensating for that, with codependency
and/or becoming successful in your chosen field--or perhaps you're
thought of as the pillar in your church or community. The trouble
is, you sometimes feel bored, or kind of empty or dead inside. When
you look around at all you've accomplished, you can talk yourself
out of those feelings--but you haven't put them totally to rest.
you understand that you're a good, giving and responsible man or
woman, but it doesn't assist you during the quiet times
in your life, when you're scanning your inner landscape for reasons
why you feel unlovable, and being hard on yourself about those.
This is counterproductive behavior that harms you, and you must
obtain help to learn how to stop it.
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HAPPINESS~ THE PATH TO FULL RECOVERY AND JOY