Home > Abusive relationships, Borderline Personality Disorder > How to Deal with a Borderline Woman

How to Deal with a Borderline Woman

tornadoIf you think the woman you love has Borderline Personality Disorder, but don’t want to end the relationship, I suggest you learn some basic psychological survival tips for coping with this woman’s frequent and erratic emotional storms.

The only way to deal with these women, should you choose to continue the relationship, is to:

1) Set reinforced steel boundaries and clear limits in regard to her outrageous behavior.

2) Hold her accountable.

3) Stay calm and focused on the central issue when she spirals out of control. She enjoys nothing better than when you spiral into the outer orbits with her. Why? Because then she can depict you as the nasty angry jerk later on when she’s in victim mode and avoid taking responsibility for her own behavior, which probably causes her to feel a great deal of shame.

4) Develop a strong support network. Don’t let her isolate you from people who can help you reality test when she’s flying through the favorite Borderline hot spot, the Land of Distortion.

Should you choose to end the relationship, brace yourself for the inevitable threats, emotional blackmail, bargaining, muckraking and possible suicidal gestures and stalking  behaviors. Try not to feel bad about ending the relationship. This woman is a virtuoso at playing the poor little me victim role. Many Borderlines fear abandonment above all else, yet their behaviors appear designed to drive others away. It’s sad that they do this, but they’re adults. I feel most sorry for the people who are on the receiving end of their more maladaptive and hurtful behaviors.

This woman is no victim; she’s an energy sapping, self-destructive predator when she’s in high gear. She has an innate ability to push people’s buttons that can’t be taught; it’s instinctual. It’s how she keeps people engaged. Again, her greatest fear is abandonment, yet her toxic relationship behaviors drive people away.

Remember, you’re not the crazy one. One of the most damaging effects of being involved with a BPD woman is that you become programmed into believing her distortions–you’re the bad guy, it’s your fault, you’re angry, you’re not loving, you’re not understanding, she’s a saint to put up with you, you’re beating her down, you’re selfish. Borderlines generally resort to name calling and verbal degradation, which they then justify by wrongly accusing you of doing all sorts of horrible things from insensitivity to infidelity.

thermonuclear_meltdownOne of the most maddening aspects of being involved with a Borderline, or any abusive personality type, is when they deny things they’ve said and done after they’ve calmed down. For example, after her most recent thermonuclear meltdown, you try to talk to her about the verbal grenades and false accusations she lobbed at you.

Her response, “That never happened. I didn’t say that. I don’t know what you’re talking about. You must be imagining things.She denies it ever happened, recounts her own highly distorted version of events or insists that you need to understand the reasons behind her hurtful behavior and forgive her even though she’s likely to repeat these same hurtful behaviors over and over again.

As a result, you begin to doubt your memory, which leaves you  bewildered and questioning your own sanity, which may induce a state of learned helplesness within you. This also serves to invalidate or de-legitimize your feelings and experiences. You’re not allowed to have your own feelings or viewpoint; only her feelings and distorted experiences matter and, therefore, are the only ones she’ll recognize.

If this happens repeatedly and you don’t have outside supports for reality testing, it’s only natural to believe her twisted perspective over time. She’s forcing you into a role that lets her live out the script she has in her head. By the way, this is usually completely unconscious on her part, but that doesn’t make it ok.

If a man treated a woman the way many Borderline women treat men, it’d be labeled abuse. It is abuse. It’s just that our society paints men as the perpetrators and women as the victims. Just because a Borderline has mental health issues doesn’t mean she isn’t responsible for her actions. You have a right to feel angry, hurt and frustrated. You have a right to be treated with respect, kindness and stability. It’s up to you to decide what you deserve and want in a relationship and how much you can tolerate.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Private Consultation and Coaching

I provide confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. My practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit Services and Products for professional inquiries.


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Photo credits:

Tornado by Bakko Brat on flickr.

Wicked Witch of the West by Walter Dukes on flickr.

by Elle Moss on flickr.

  1. Kev
    October 13, 2009 at 3:07 pm | #1

    Good morning, Stefania…

    While I’m happy for you that you “believe” that you blame yourself, this is entirely different from actually taking responsibility for your actions.

    I would suggest that you seek professional help. I am not a qualified psychologist, but I hear that DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) is very helpful for a number of people with BPD. Find a therapist who specializes in this, go to them, be COMPLETELY HONEST with them about what is going on with you, and start treatment.

    This is how to deal with this disorder.

    If you’re looking for online support, there are plenty of resources out there online for people with BPD. This, however, is probably not the best place for you to start. This site has caused you an emotional reaction. I hope it has been powerful enough to make you see the types of damage your rages cause, and to not only want to do something about it, but to actually go seek professional help to stop them. BPD rage is not “cute,” nor is it “funny,” nor is it something the recipient can just “shrug off” or “excuse” (no matter how difficult your life is/was). It has serious, long-lasting effects. If seeing the results of your actions hurts you as much as you claim, then do something about it. Actions speak far louder than words, and you seeking help will be far more meaningful than one more apology that we all know will only be temporary.

    I wish you luck.

    • Freedom
      November 20, 2009 at 11:20 pm | #2

      Well said Kev…
      Stefania, if you know that you’re the one hurting other people, then get help to stop. NOBODY wants you to hurt yourself. that doesn’t even the score. NOBODY requires or wants penance of that nature. you can not change the past, only the present and the future. you can not go back and get a do-over for something that you’ve already done or said. but you CAN start a new life and new attitude fresh with help. i’m sorry only goes so far, even if it’s 100% sincere and said a hundred times. in real life, you only get so many “forgive me father for i have sinned”. it is your mess to clean up. but it can be done. if you’re as proactive in defeating the abusive moments as you are in expressing them… theoretically they will subside. but it takes a lot of work on your part to get the job done. nobody can do it but you.

  2. Stefania
    October 13, 2009 at 1:16 pm | #3

    Reading your articles have made me cry horribly. As a person with BPD, I felt like you were making us seem like we weren’t even human beings. I understand this disorder is very destructive, but your approach made it seem like there was no hope for any of us. I do actually believe that I blame myself for a lot of the uncontrollable rage that I have put onto others and that hurts me. It really does. I wish I never had to deal with this disorder.

    • jham123
      October 13, 2009 at 4:58 pm | #4

      So instead of crying in your soup, have you ever though about going back to those that you destroyed and give a heart felt apology? An apology for the behavior and not an apology for getting caught??

      I like how your rage against others “hurts you”. How about wishing that others that loved you in the past didn’t have to deal with the Disorder……

      ….Just sayin’…

      • Stefania
        October 13, 2009 at 5:27 pm | #5

        At first I didn’t want to reply but I was a bit angry because I felt like your reply was an attack towards me.
        I have apologized before. I see that you said that yours can never apologize for anything. I’m guessing that’s why you were so quick to assume that I have never apologized before?
        I actually don’t like to deal with the ones close to me anymore in fear of hurting them more. It is something that is hard for me to control, I want to show them that I am a good person but at the same time I want to stay away from them because I don’t want to hurt them further.
        Also, when you said to wish others to not deal with the disorder, it felt like you were in way telling me to just kill myself off so they didn’t have to deal with me anymore.

        • shrink4men
          October 13, 2009 at 5:42 pm | #6


          Here’s a learning moment for you: YOUR FEELINGS ARE NOT FACTS. jham did not state that he wishes you would kill yourself. He doesn’t know you and I’m sure he doesn’t care about you one way or another. Accusing him of wishing you dead is a major emotional distortion. It’s probably more accurate to say that seeing the hurt the men here have experienced because of the BPDS/NPDS in their lives makes you realize the hurt you’ve caused your own loved ones and that makes you want to kill yourself. Don’t project this onto the people here.

          Here’s the problem: You are participating on a site that is not designed for people with BPD and NPD, but the targets of the abusive BPD/NPD behaviors. There are many sites designed for people with BPD, but you’re choosing to CROSS A BOUNDARY and take part in a site that isn’t meant for you.

          After the BPD “boundaries don’t apply to me” move, you then engage in guilt inducing emotional manipulations. You’re not going to find much sympathy here. Furthermore, I will not allow these kinds of manipulations to be perpetrated on my readers. I will call every last one of them out.

          It seems that you have true remorse for the pain you’ve caused others and I sincerely hope that you’re in a highly structured course of treatment. With a lot of work and effort, perhaps you can learn to control your thoughts and feelings, but it will require constant self-awareness and taking accountability for things you don’t want to face.

          I wish you the best.

          Dr Tara

          • Iron
            April 12, 2010 at 2:54 pm | #7

            I will someday be able to see with that clarity and dissect like that.

            You see there are moments with my gf that situations like that happens.

            The manipulations are so subtle, and the crazymaking, so subtle as well, that I only notice what is happening way after its completion.

            Thanks again Doc for being there for the benefit of all.

          • jay
            November 14, 2013 at 2:39 pm | #8

            That’s the most insightful and well written response I’ve read in a very long time.
            Same as Iron, I wish I had the same clarity too.
            Well said and thanks Dr. Tara.

            • shrink4men
              November 14, 2013 at 3:34 pm | #9

              You’re welcome.

        • 20yearsin
          July 10, 2013 at 12:03 am | #10

          Yeah, that’s one way to look at it. The other way to look at it is the shameful way of insincere apologies to those you harmed and hypocritically moving on to greener pasture where there’s something to harvest, like the self esteem or lives of others.
          If you are still doing the same thing with no consideration for others even though you are aware of it, which way do you think is your way?

  3. Sarah
    October 12, 2009 at 9:11 am | #11

    I suffer from borderline, but I think you are harsh in your jusdgement about us who suffer from it, you picture us like crazy people with no heart and that the only thing we want is to destroy and hurt people. I love my husband alot and I would never want to hurt him physically or pschycologically, I’m not the same person when I have my borderline break outs as when I am calm… I think you should change your post so it fits the reality better than your ugly lies.

    • shrink4men
      October 12, 2009 at 3:48 pm | #12

      Hi Sarah,

      I imagine the information posted on this site does seem harsh to you. Before I continue with my reply I’m going to post the email you sent in addition to the above comment:

      I’ve been suffering from BPD since the beginning of adolescence I think, the cause probably being my traumatic childhood. However, let’s get to the point.

      I’ve been reading alot on your blog about BPD women and I must say that you are right in many things, but I also see you are judging everyone exactly the same, as if all people with BPD has exactly the same feelings, thoughts and behaviour – and that’s just not right!

      I love my husband with all my heart and I would never want to hurt him whether physically or emotionally, I try to do my best to keep my temper in control and to treat him the best so that he loves me even more. I am not the same person when I have my tantroms as when I am calm. My disorder, is a disorder, it is not ME. Atleast not fully, because I’m not a crazy idiot who want to hurt and destroy, I’m a nice girl who try my best in life.
      I am not looking to manipulate, humiliate or in any other way embarass or hurt anyone, certainly not the one I love.

      People with BPD also deserves to be loved, and instead of writing articles about how to leave these “manipulating, crazy bitches” maybe you should try to focus about HOW to help us instead, how to deal with BPD, not just how-to guides for men to leave their wives! Do you seriously want every sufferer of BPD, to live alone for the rest of their lives? Don’t we deserve love and intimacy, a happy life, like any “normal” woman does?

      A BPD sufferer

      You begin your email by stating your BPD is probably caused by your “traumatic childhood.” Perhaps it is, but your statement telegraphs, “It’s not my fault. I’m not responsible for my behaviors.” You’re an adult and you’re responsible for your actions as an adult, no matter what happened to you as a child.

      Am I judging all BPDs and/or NPDs the same? I write in broad and general terms. There are degrees of severity to both of these disorders and not all characteristics apply. This is discussed throughout the site.

      I’m sure you love your husband and for his sake and yours, I hope you’re in a very structured regimen of cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps you set strong boundaries, grounds your emotions and holds you accountable for your behaviors.

      Stating that “[you're] not the same person when [you] have your borderline break out as when [you're] calm” is an example of a borderline defense called splitting. You are the same person when you’re having one of your episodes. It’s not like you physically walk out of the room and another woman enters the room. It is you. This is another example of refusing to hold yourself responsible for your abusive borderline behaviors. It’s another side to your personality. It’s an ugly hurtful side, but it’s part of you and just because you label it as “not me” doesn’t make it so. Does your husband have the option of divorcing the abusive woman who is “not you” and keeping the “calm you?”

      I am not looking to manipulate, humiliate or in any other way embarass or hurt anyone, certainly not the one I love. I believe you don’t want to hurt or manipulate your husband or others, however, intention does not negate consequence. Just because you didn’t intend to do something or didn’t mean to hurt your husband with one of your “break outs” doesn’t minimize the damage when you do. People who drive drunk don’t intend to kill other motorists or pedestrians when they’re under the influence, but their behavior often results in just that outcome. Do their good intentions absolve their culpability?

      People with BPD also deserves to be loved, and instead of writing articles about how to leave these “manipulating, crazy bitches” maybe you should try to focus about HOW to help us instead, how to deal with BPD, not just how-to guides for men to leave their wives! There are far more resources out there to help women and men who have BPD, but very few that help the targets of their abusive behavior. Don’t you think men and women who are suffering because of a loved one’s hurtful BPD behavior deserve help, too? Or is it all about you and your needs and feelings?

      Don’t we deserve love and intimacy, a happy life, like any “normal” woman does? Yes, you deserve love when you can enter a relationship without damaging another person’s body, mind and soul. Until then, I believe both men and women have a right to know exactly what they’re dealing with and should have the option to opt out of an abusive relationship. If a man or woman has full disclosure about the nature of BPD and/or NPD and the prognosis and wants to stay in that relationship, that is their conscious and informed choice. However, I believe a person has the right to end a relationship if they don’t want to subject themselves to “borderline break outs” or narcissistic rage episodes and the host of other abusive behaviors that accompany these two disorders.

      Thank you for sharing your views. I hope you’re in a good treatment program and wish you and your husband the best.

      Dr Tara

      • jham123
        October 12, 2009 at 8:26 pm | #13

        Amazing, I can quickly diagnose mechanical issues…I can diagnose Sporting event nuances as well….much more quickly than most professionals. I cannot see the nuances of the Human condition like you can Dr. T.

        I read her post and at first it all seemed very plausible to me.

        You break it down like John Madden breaking down the New England Patriots defense with a chalk board. It is so clear to you what is occuring and how it occurs and why.

        Me, however, I see it all for face value and nothing any deeper than that.

        Lemme give you a great example. There is the Swedish Parent on My son’s Football team. The Parent has a really loud voice. The Parent (Non descriptive Gender intended) always yells “Bring the ball to the Goal ERIK!!!” Well, to be blunt, “Erick” plays defense and does not carry the ball…..but what does this Parent from Sweden know about American rules Football?? Truth be told (and the parent will openly admit) they know not the first thing about how Football is played…….

        My point is, when it comes to understanding these things about this BPD situation, I am the Swedish parent…I have no way of understanding as I have no clue about what is and what isn’t

        Dr. T, Thanks for the Chalk Talk diagram. I have gained a bit about BPD….I think I am ready to play in a “pop warner” league.

        • edgar
          October 13, 2009 at 1:53 pm | #14

          I would add that those of us involved with bpd/npd are sucked in by the good side and totally mind f’d by the change up..of the good and bad. My ex actually told me that I “brought out….bad Susan” I stood there dumfounded..waiting for her head to spin and barf pea soup!!!

        • 20yearsin
          July 9, 2013 at 11:12 pm | #15

          Well, 4 years later my opinion still stands that like me you probably wanted to be just a husband and not a shrink, punching ball or pacifier for your other HALF ( capital letters intended).
          I suppose as people we are rigged to be supportive of our loved one in sickness and diseases( like cancers. etc.). But walking mental disorders are pernicious and when you meet them they don’t announce themselves.
          Who has ever heard of anyone introducing themselves like: ” Hi, I’m Jodi. I’m cute, so charming and loving that when I’ll have you hooked up I will F your life and your world”. Who would go for that?
          When someone not centered end up in your life through sweet fake behaviors, when the first problems erupt the cause is usually blamed on everything but the BPDs behaviors.
          When they become apparent the usual concrete-reinforced titanium-plated denial doesn’t help to find solutions. Granted none of us grow up objectively introspecting as we just “are” and nothing really becomes serious before we marry and breed or at least live together with our other half. So if you don’t know you are mentally disordered as you were just growing up you can’t really be blamed for that.
          By the time it shows up the damage is done and it is the hinge point where business has got to be taken care of, which it usually doesn’t as denial, power and control take precedence to being in harmony.
          I guess prevention through taught awareness before everybody “get some” would be a good requirement to getting a marriage license. A “just in case” class. That would be progressive, You have to take exams to get a driver’s license or any license except for a marriage license. ? . I don’t blame BPD types for having BPD behaviors. But I do blame them for denying them when they are apparent, as well as I blame the social system( social services and justice system mainly) for easily placing the BPD as a victim and his/her partner as the perpetrator. Where’s the hero in this equation? Oh yeah, you got to be that too. Not only do you get screwed but you get to take the blame and fix it. It’s exhausting, and I’m talking from experience. What a wonderful bamboozle, we might as well laugh about it.

    • Mike91163
      October 12, 2009 at 7:02 pm | #16


      I read your post, and Dr. Tara’s reply to your email post. What intrigues me is that your words here, along with those many others who say they’re BPD elsewhere, say the same things again and again:

      –PLENTY of excuses

      –NEVER, EVER, EVER any apologies for your behavior.

      Not for nothing, as Dr. T points out, you acknowledge that “Mr. Hyde” is a bad person. OK…but why can’t “Dr. Jekyll” APOLOGIZE for the “other”‘s actions, particularly when you KNOW and ADMIT to what they’re doing?

      Sarah, I believe that my wife loves me very much…but, for God’s sake, put yourself in our shoes for a moment or two. Today, your wife thinks you’re the best, and is kind, loving, and forgiving. Tomorrow, you say the slightest wrong thing, and BOOM-you’re Satan personified. Imagine what’s going on in OUR heads, knowing damn well that the “minor infraction” wouldn’t even register on a normal person’s “radar”!

      Sarah, I will agree with you that you and your fellow BPDs do deserve love; but you need to be honest with yourself here…if “your love” consists of controlling and bullying behaviors, how can you define that as NORMAL reciprocal love, which is the BOTTOM line basis of ANY intimate relationship?

      And again, the complete and utter failure to acknowledge the emotional, mental, and PHYSICAL damage and wreckage that you have wreaked does not bode well for any type of stable, reciprocal relationship. Sorry, but read our stories…many of us have spent years and DECADES trying to cope with our BPD spouses, so do NOT try to lay a guilt trip on me…I’ve done my best, and just cannot do it anymore…if there was a HINT of “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong”, well, that might be different, but one of the hallmarks of BPD is a failure to admit to one’s shortcomings.

      • jham123
        October 13, 2009 at 4:54 pm | #17

        Mike91163, Yup, Mine can never ever apologize for anything. She never accepts a shred of culpability.

        Many a long heated discussions around culpability and the way “I” felt when she committed “X”.

      • Freedom
        November 20, 2009 at 8:01 pm | #18

        As usual, Mike and i are on the same page. my ex could be absolutely the sweetest girl in the world one moment, then next moment BAM!!!. i’d go from the greatest guy to walk the planet, to a lousy, rotten, self-centered, arrogant asshole whose “only reason for being in the relationship is to stroke my own ego and dominate” her. you don’t know me, but the LAST thing i want to do is dominate anyone. that is not a relationship i want, cuz it’s not real. and the kicker is that i didn’t do anything of consequence to deserve that type of behavior. i was accused of cheating on her, i was told things like “you’re not a man, you’re a fucking pussy” and that was more than once. there is absolutely NO REASON for anyone to be treated like that. and the last time she called me an FP was the last big fight we had. i had a lightning glimpse of me grabbing her by the back of the head and shoving her face first thru the windshield. i never EVER want to be that mad again, nor do i ever want to have that thought ever go thru my head again. i went to my family and told them “i have to get out or else i’m gonna hurt my self or i’m gonna hurt her because this is so bad that i can’t do it anymore”. i had 115 rotten, nasty, degrading emails sent to me in less than 4 months by the girl. that doesn’t count to over 100 i deleted from the prior months. this is from a person who said she loved me. that’s not my definition of love, nor is it my definition of a healthy relationship. i can honestly say that i truly tried my absolute best to please her and to be a good man. but my efforts need to net me a better result than being accused of things i did not say, things i did not do, and all of the venom associated with trying to do my best.

        now… having said all of that… i agree that she does deserve to be loved. i am not the guy to do it successfully. i want her to be happy, i want her to be healthy, i want her to be successful in everything she does, especially love. she is not evil, she is troubled. but i am not capable of handling the abuse she dealt to me over and over. when she is doing well she is a wonderful gal that has so much to offer any guy. but she needs to address her other issues in order to be successful. it is a tough thing to do, cuz there’s a LOT of personal honesty that has to take place, and a LOT of accountability. can she do it? i think so. i still root for her. i still cheer for her, even tho she still wishes hateful things upon me. even to this day… i wish her the best, and i always will. she wishes me the worst, and probably always will. go figure…

  4. Mark
    September 10, 2009 at 3:53 am | #19

    Sorry NOT in this

  5. Mark
    September 10, 2009 at 3:52 am | #20

    Kev, many thanks for your comments.

    No, I am very definatley in this still – I know she will never change….I do think she has NPD as well as BPD and HPD – so its a lost cause.

    I am not a muslim – but chose to accept her based on who I thought she was. I accepted both her and her son.

    I just thought I would post it as I am sure many others will think they are on their own – but they are not.

    Thanks again

  6. Mark
    September 10, 2009 at 1:43 am | #21

    Our relationship started when we met initially via a website. Things started out well – although with hindsight “S” made a few comments that should have made me think more about progressing a relationship with her.
    “S” and I were married via muslim nikaah on 11th November 2007.
    Throughout the coming months “S” changed and became verbally and emotionally abusive regarding myself and my children.
    My son came to live with us (“S” agreed to this) and although she did treat my son well to his face – she kept telling me how useless he was and how he would never make anything of himself etc……something I am sure he could hear.
    In front of everyone else (friends and family) “S” was a lovely lady and could do no wrong….but to me when she was not in front of anyone she was verbally abusive and regularly hit me in the face. However, “S” was so lovely when she chose to be and at times like that she was my ‘perfect partner’.
    “S” would:
    • Constantly check my phone – but delete her own texts and call log (as I did check her own phone on 2 occasions as she threatened to have sex with someone else to teach me a lesson) – this included her having texts from her male friends, her ex boyfriend and various males from work who would keep texting as they wanted to ‘take her for dinner’ etc (her behaviour clearly shows that she can do whatever she wants but I could not even text any female friend however innocent)
    • Check my emails – but keep hers password protected and delete them
    • Check my bank statements (as can be seen from the attached note)
    • She would go mad if I was late home – but she regularly went for a drink with her friends on the way home from work and not even call me….upon getting home she would either be happy or mad….I never knew which it would be
    • Although she told me I should see my children she would always quiz me and if I had picked them up from somewhere she didn’t like or anything I did could be scrutinized and turned into something that could be twisted then she would go into a rage
    • Although her son lived with us (my son had moved out) she told me that if my kids were to visit she would go out so she didn’t have to see them – she constantly called them ‘illegitimate bastards’
    • I could not keep contact with any of my longstanding female friends – although “S” kept very regular contact with her male friends…including having a drink with her ex-boyfriend – because they were her friends and I was a ‘fucking whore’
    • She constantly told me how she was too good for me etc..
    • She told me on at least 4 occasions that she would have sex with someone in our bed to teach me a lesson – although I have never been unfaithful to her on any occasion.
    • She constantly (almost every other day) accused me of infidelity – she even came with me to hypnotherapy, sat outside the office, and still accused me of having sex with the therapist when we got home.
    • She threw my telephone at the wall on two occasions – once smashing it.
    • She woke me up at 2:30am one morning demanding the keys for my car so she could check it for condoms.
    We did split up for a short time – I cant remember the date as I have lost my emails but earlier in the year 2008. She had been constantly abusive both verbally and physically which ended up with her smashing my mobile phone and telling me ‘I was a useless father’ and ‘my kids didn’t really want to see me’ and ‘what sort of man are you that deserts your kids’….etc. I did react by placing my hand over her mouth and telling her to be quiet. I asked her to leave and she told her family and myself I tried to strangle her – something that did not happen. For a while she convinced me I put my hand on her neck – but I certainly did not. In fact, I asked her how many hands I used – she told me both – which cant have been as I was sitting on the bed sideways and she bit my finger, so my hand was on her mouth………………her brother later asked me why I throttled her and I told him I didn’t and asked if there was any mark – which obviously there wasn’t.
    We did get back together again and things were good for a short time and then the abusive situation started again.
    The two instances detailed below are only two out of a large number. This is something that “S” has never apologised for and in fact she has no remorse whatsoever and blames me….telling me I need to make her love and respect her again and that I have constantly humiliated her for constantly asking her to move out.
    Her family are always told lies – telling me I cant keep asking her to leave when we have an argument.

    Example 1
    On this morning I received a telephone call regarding my son from his school counsellor. I went to the school and was concerned with his behaviour (and that of his friend) and decided to meet with his friends mother (who he now lodged with) and discuss reporting his behaviour to the police.
    I spoke with “S” by telephone and told her what I was going to do.
    I met with ”L” (his landlady/friends mother), had a quick coffee and we decided to report the incident – which we did.
    This was only the second time I had ever met “L” – the other was only to take my son his belongings.
    On the way back home I got a telephone call from my son’s counsellor who asked me to go directly to him as my son had a breakdown and was on his way there by taxi. I told “S” all I knew at that stage and told her I would call her.
    My son arrived and was assessed and I was asked to take him to Hospital for admission – this was early evening.
    “S” called me and agreed to meet me at the hospital. When we got there I obviously couldn’t tell her all as we were with my son. We went to get a coffee and “S” asked if she could speak with my son – I said yes and went outside.
    As I was without my son I decided to call “L” and tell her (as she was his landlady) that he was being admitted and wouldn’t be home. “S” came outside and went into a rage because I was talking to her – I tried to explain that I had to let her know my son wouldn’t be home…..but she was in a rage and told me I was having sex with this woman all afternoon and I was a whore and didn’t tell her anything….and how dare I spend the afternoon with this woman.
    I told her to leave me alone as it was bad enough to be admitting my son let alone dealing with her.
    “S” left and I stayed at the hospital until 11:45pm.
    On my way home in the car “S” called me – she was in a bar in Auckland and was very drunk. She asked me to pick her up – I told her to get a taxi.
    She send me several abusive text messages – which I didn’t keep but could be sought from Vodafone.
    She then telephoned me and told me I was a ‘fucking bastard’ and ‘fucking whore’ and if I didn’t pick her up she ‘would have sex with one of the guys in the bar’.
    She didn’t come home until about 1:30 – 2:00am.
    Wheh she arrived home she came into the lounge where I was sat and told me I was a bastard – she told me I was shagging my sons landlady. She went on to tell me my children were ‘bastards and always caused trouble’ and they weren’t ‘even conceived in marriage’ and therefore they were ‘fucking illegitimate bastards’
    She then struck me in the face – again and again – I didn’t count but estimate it to be 12-14 times. This caused quite a lot of bruising…..and again I asked her to leave.
    There was bruising to my nose and both sides of my face.

    We got back together August/September 2008 and things were really good. When we were apart we found that our Muslim wedding was not legal and as things were really good – I asked “S” if we should get married (legally) on the beach and she agreed. (I thought she has changed and everything was really good and this could show her the high level of my commitment to us – especially as I didn’t have to do this)

    We got married – and on that VERY SAME DAY – everything changed. It was that very evening that “S” started to accuse me of things – we were watching our wedding DVD and she accused me of having sex with one of my friends and I told her that the difference between her and me was the fact that she maintained contact with all her family and friends (both male and female) and I was only able to maintain meaningful contact with a couple of mine. The next day my daughter emailed me and “S” went into a rage about it, the next day I got a text from someone I took out 3 times (only asking me how business was and I asked her not to text again) – “S” told me she would call her (I did ask for her ex’s telephone number so I could reciprocate – but she wouldn’t provide it).

    She told me she was ‘going to have sex in our bed when I was at work the next day with her ex boyfriend to teach me a lesson’ – I got home and “S” had changed the bottom bed sheet, (this was once of only twice I checked her phone), deleted her text messages and cleared her call log – THIS WAS WITHIN 4 DAYS OF OUR WEDDING.

    This carried on with something different every day for over 3 weeks.

    On another occasion:

    I left my home with my wife (“S”) to visit the beach. Had a great day.
    Upon leaving the beach “S” suggested we visit my friend as he lives there as we were planning to stay at his house on New Years Eve. I called my friend and he said that would be great and asked if I remembered where he lived (as I had been there previously for a coffee) – I replied yes.
    I told “S” I thought I could find it – she started shouting at me as I knew where he lived, so she told me I had been at his house having sex with another woman. I told her that was ludicrous but she continued to scream at me. I drove towards his house but she started screaming at me to pull over and let her out. I eventually turned the car around and told her we would go home – I called my friend to tell him we wouldn’t be coming.
    I stopped the car and “S” got out and continued to scream at me – she told me ‘I was a whore’, ‘I was no good’, ‘my ex-partners partner was more of a man than me’, ‘all of her ex’s were better looking, younger and more successful than me’, ‘I was a eunuch and that she’ would let me know what it felt like as she was going to have sex with other men in our house’ and that this she kept telling she would do “I swear to you I will”.
    I asked her to get into the car and we would go home – which she did.
    On the way out of the town she started to scream at me again – telling me I was a whore etc….. – she then struck me in the face (whilst I was driving)
    I did not talk to her again – but she kept telling me that she was going to have sex with other guys and that she swore she would and started called me a eunuch. I was still driving and slapped her knee and told her to shut up.
    She stayed quiet for about 10 minutes and then punched me again in the face (I was still driving at this time) but it had enough force to startle me and knock my sunglasses off.
    We did stop briefly at a toilet and she tried to tell me it was because she loved me so much.
    We did not speak again until we got home.
    I went to bed and so did she. She then got up and went downstairs. She then told me she was going for a drive.
    When she came back she started telling me I was a whore and told me she had checked my phone and I had a text from my ex-partner. I told her this could not be true as she would not have my number – but she told me it was her as she had just called the number. I asked for the telephone and called the number with her present. It was in fact another friend – an old plutonic friend from UK. The message read: ‘Happy Christmas my far away friend. xx’. I told “S” that she was a friend and that I hadn’t even been to the UK for 2.5 years – but she continued to call me a whore and told me she was swearing she would bring guys back to our home to show me what it was like.
    I got out of bed and told her I would leave as I had had enough. She wouldn’t let me leave and when I went to get my car out of the garage she once again punched me in the face.
    I gave up my attempts to leave and went to bed.

    On the Monday:
    I got up around 8:30am and left to meet with my daughter and eventually my son.
    I returned home at around 3:30pm.
    I made a cup of tea and went upstairs. “S” was in the en-suite. I walked into the doorway and asked her who she was going to meet. Without warning she picked up the air freshener can and struck me on the head. She was screaming at me – telling me I was a bastard for accusing her for going out to meet someone – I didn’t mention a guy, but even if I had, she had been telling me how she would sex in our bed with someone. Blood poured out of the cut and ran down my face. I knelt down and blood was dripping onto the floor. “S” ran downstairs and came back with a tea towel and ice. I wiped the blood and stood up. It continued to bleed and “S” asked if she could take me to hospital – I declined. After approximately 10 minutes the bleeding did not stop so I told her I would go to the clinic. I attended to clinic – I stated on the ACC form I had slipped over (as I did not want her to get into trouble at that stage). However, I did discuss it with the doctor and nurse who recorded the same.
    The nurse cleaned the cut and applied a sealer.

    “S” and I stayed together for a further week – until the next weekend when “S” grabbed me around the neck whilst in the car – scratching both sides of my neck (which were seen by various people)
    I left the next day.
    “S”’s sister did call me and ask if I would go back and talk with “S” and her brother and sister – I declined due to the fact they must have all known and were powerless to help me.
    “S”’s family tell me I cant keep leaving every time we have an argument – these are not arguments and I don’t see why I should live in this environment.
    “S” also sets up telephone calls that can be heard by her family to make me look like I and mad – telling me ‘please don’t keep playing games Mark’ etc….
    I am also aware “S” telephoned her family after striking me on the head and asked them not to ask me about my head – as I was embarrasses because I lost my temper and hit myself over he head with a perfume bottle.
    All the lies have been designed to make me look mad – as “S” told me her family thinks she should leave as I have serious mental issues.
    “S” has shown absolutely no remorse. She has never apologised. She has always made it my fault and told me I have to make up for it.
    This is something I believe she had done to others. “S” has to be accountable. I should not be made to be even more of a victim and “S” continues to ensure she abuse the situation – even to the point of coming to my house when I was not at home (although my lodger was)…..probably with her sons spare key. What right does she have to think she can continue this behaviour and come into my home?
    These events do not depict the complete situation as the number of incidences is too great.
    Since this time “S” has assaulted me further – which took place a month after we split up and was reported to the police who arrested her. Her family think its all my fault although she pleaded guilty.
    There was a period of reconnect – but it reverted to this same old situation within days.

    • Kev
      September 10, 2009 at 3:15 am | #22

      Mark –

      Is it safe to assume you’ve left this relationship for good?

      If not, please take a moment to re-read your post, and then ask yourself why you haven’t.

      There is no reason to stay in this. It will never get better. She will not change.

      Just the few stories you’ve provided (and I’m sure there are countless more, and even if there weren’t) are all the reason you need to get out, and get as far away as possible.

      You don’t need this.

      You don’t deserve this.

      This is not love.

      You staying is not love.

      Please, if you haven’t already, get out.

      Good luck, brother. You’ve got a long road ahead of you, but (and I’m assuming, based on you having a Muslim wedding that you are Muslim), as the saying goes, “God does not burden a soul beyond capacity. Each will enjoy what (good) he earns, as indeed each will suffer from (the wrong) he does.”

      While I do not claim to speak for God, I would suggest that the road to healing is the burden your soul can bear.

      This marriage, is not. Nor should it be.

      Peace be with you.


  7. james
    August 26, 2009 at 1:26 am | #23

    Dr. T,

    Yes very helpful, the other two tests the evaluator listed in the intake form were the MCMI 3 and the SASI, i asked if they wanted me to take those and they said no. From what i read the MCMI 3 focuses on personality disorders, will BPDs be able to get around this one? Will the SASI pick up on her drinking problems, im hoping for validation from the evalutor. I did present him with all the emails i have sent her trying to communicate about the kids, she responds to about 20% with one or two word answers and if its a sentence it has her failing to accept responsiblity and being very ambigious, sound familiar?


  8. james
    August 25, 2009 at 4:33 pm | #24

    Dr. T,

    Round and round she goes, just found out my wife was on a antidepressant for 13 months, then stopped for 7 months, then went on a much higher dose, and recieved a diagnosis of major depressive episode, moderate, i last week, im sure she has him( therapist)e snowed, no doubt she is BPD, she hid the anti-depressants from me, never had a clue till checking our online insurance account, she is also drinking close to a bottle of wine a night. Midst of the divorce, going through a custody eval, thank god becuase i think this guy (custody eval) will discover her, the litanty of tests he gives is one where it picks up on personality disorders, the mm something – 3 i think its called, is there a way she can beat that test or if she is BPD will it come out in that test?

    Thanks your site is great

    • shrink4men
      August 25, 2009 at 8:21 pm | #25

      Hi James,

      Yikes. It’s not good to mix alcohol and meds. Yes, she’s probably snowed her therapist or the therapist is humoring her so as not to drive her away and keep her coming back for repeat business.

      The custody evaluator may not discover your ex’s issues. These women are convincing, practiced liars and highly persuasive blamers. You should also plan to meet with the evaluator and bring any damaging emails, voicemails, recordings, etc., that you may have to make your case and expose her for the abusive, volatile person she is.

      I think the test you’re referring to is the MMPI-2 (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory—not sure if it’s still on the 2nd edition or if there’s a 3rd now—haven’t administered this in a while). This inventory has a number of validity scales built in to detect dishonesty, faking good or faking bad, etc. Specifically:

      1. The “L” scale. The “lie scale” is designed to detect attempts by individuals to present themselves in the best light. A high score usually means the person is deliberately trying to present her- or himself in the most positive way, rejecting shortcomings or unfavorable characteristics.

      2. The “F” scale. Detects whether a person is faking good (making self look better) or faking bad (making self look worse) by catching contradictions in their responses.

      3. The “K” scale. The “defensiveness” does the same thing as the L scale, but is more subtle and, therefore, more effective.

      There are other validity scales, but the above three are the most important, in my opinion. Here’s a link if you’re interested in reading about the others. The MMPI-2 has 567 true or false items and takes about 60-90 minutes to complete. The sheer length of the test makes it difficult to “beat” it by giving false responses because it’s near impossible to keep track of all your responses, although, it can be done if you’re super smart with an excellent memory.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  9. happy in the country
    August 20, 2009 at 5:41 pm | #26

    As an outsider looking in (engaged to a non B.P.D. who was married to a B.P.D. for 27 yrs), I had no idea that this sort of behavior existed let alone was tolerated by men who blamed themselves for the way that their bpd spouse was acting. I cant imagine how and why someone would think that they are obligated to stay in a marriage that is so abusive, dysfunctional and erratic.

    It has been so difficult even as an outsider to pardon this behavior, never mind forget and forgive. my soon to be husband is as normal as you can get (Thank God), but because of his ex, who will not let go of him ( they have been in divorce court over two yrs with no delaying on his behalf, of course). i have to endure her ongoing tirades, blackmail, threats, emotional attempts to pull him back into a relationship with her, attempts to destroy his professional reputation, trying to take everything he owns—even his own friends and family to the point of calling me every name in the cuss word book.

    All i can honestly say is that i can see that they have no soul, and they will do what ever it takes to destroy you and make your life miserable. You think they are weak people? you really believe they are gonna crumble into a pile of dust if you leave to save yourself? Think again, my friends…

    they will survive and function especially now, since they think they have something to live for… and that’s to make your life torture. my best advice is to leave unexpectedly, make sure you take all your precious belonging and your half of the money, because if you don’t, they will not give it back to you—even under a court order! My non bpd fiance ran so fast out of fear for his life with only the clothes on his back and his car. now all his boyhood items, heirlooms and things that he has collected, bought, earned, or were given to him will not be returned. When asked, his ex replied, “what are you talking about? you came with 3 uhaul trucks and picked up all of your property!” always a bunch of lies with her.

    My non bpd did leave that relationship after 27 yrs. He just couldn’t take that emotional and physical abuse any longer. Now he is with me, a very well rounded, kind loving woman who will stay by his side through this rollercoaster ride. someday soon, it will be over, she will no longer have any say so. she will no longer have any control over these divorce negotiations, and she will have to sign on the dotted line. it does come to an end, even if that seems impossible.

    • shrink4men
      August 20, 2009 at 6:08 pm | #27

      Hi happy in the country,

      Thank you for reading and posting. Kudos to you and your fiance for staying strong and committed to each other through the onslaught of his ex’s “seek and destroy” tactics. You’re absolutely right about these women not crumbling into a pile of dust if you leave them. These women are ferocious in their desire to punish, that’s what you should be afraid of when you leave them. Their “poor little victim” act is just that; an act. If you fall for it, it leaves you wide open to be blindsided later.

      My best wishes to you and your partner.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr Tara

  10. rob
    July 22, 2009 at 1:43 pm | #28


    Very helpful information, can the women with such disorders hold down a job and have friends as well? My ex-wife displayed some of these characteristics, but she also works as a teacher and has friends both male and female? Is she likely to be narcissistic or borderline? I only ask for future reference and my ex has my children so I still have to have some contact with her.

    • shrink4men
      July 24, 2009 at 1:34 pm | #29

      Hi Rob,

      NPDs don’t really have friends. If they have “friends” their individuals who make the NPD feel better by comparison, whom they can hold court with and impress with their “wonderful personage.” BPDs have intense “friendships,” in which they get really close really fast. However, they’re generally tumultuous with a lot of idealizing/devaluing and cut offs.

      NPD and BPD traits fall on a continuum. There’s usually a mixture. You haven’t shared enough information for me to hypothesize which end of the continuum your ex lies on.

      Dr Tara

  11. Anthony
    June 23, 2009 at 7:32 am | #30

    Wow, Great Info.
    Thank you!

  12. Danny
    June 12, 2009 at 9:22 pm | #31

    Hi everyone,
    I think I have been ‘dating’ someone with borderliner too. My situation is quite painful and I am exhausted. I have met the girl in question only a year ago. She got accidently pregnant and from there on thing got worse and worse. I recommended her to consider an abortion but once it was clear that she did not want that I went 100 % for the baby. Since then she has been agressive verbally abusive angry for reasons that I still not understand and worse bad mouthing me to her family. At some point I decided (i thought together with her but she denies that now) that it would be best if she lives back home with her parents for a few months in view of the stress and the potential effect on the baby. I still went to all the NCT courses with her but at the last moment when she was about to deliver I was not longer welcome and was treated like a complete stranger at the hospital. Now the baby is born and i ahve seen her once She is some days is normal and send me clips of the baby but the follow day does not respond or is angry again (the agryness is usually because i am not there but if i want to go there she treats me bad). I dont know if i should attach to the baby because i dont know what her next step will be. I am heart broken because I already love my little daughter but I know if i go to the mother she will break me down more and uses the power of my attachment to my daughter. She explained me she owes me nothing I am just the sperm ect etc and the next moment she wants to show my daughter on webcam well the usual border stuff i supose etc etc..She does not want to give me parental rights so basically that makes me at her mercy in view of the child. My question now is what would be best for my child and what would be the best steps to take? I consider just letting it go and learn to live with the pain because I do not see how I can help her and if i am out of her life at least maybe there s more peace for my child? best D

    • Brian(uk)
      June 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm | #32

      Hi I’ve had the same as you met a girl she got
      pregnant we kept the baby I was their at the birth
      she moved out 2 weeks before cuz we had a row
      anyway I was at the birth I just felt numb something
      didn’t feel right her mother never spoke to me though the whole
      birth 1 week later we weren’t talking she went and
      registered my son without me I never had anychoice
      in his name middle name or last name but .I was so angry
      at this but just put up with it he’s 15 months know I
      only see him when it suits her .I have 2 more children of my own
      which I look after 24/7 plus I run my own business
      she seems only to help me when it suits her I get so
      tired I get constantly slagged by here no matter what
      I do it isn’t good enough the last outrage was last week
      she tried to get her friend to txt me to see if I would
      meet her but it back fired on her as I’m not like that anyway that night
      after a drinking session at the pub cuz she left my son with her friend
      for 2 days. She came round my flat banging the door
      kicking the door throwing newspapers through my letter box
      woke my son up who lives with me he’s 7
      saying she doesn’t know nothing of the woman in question who had
      been txting me anyway I changed my number couldn’t believe
      her friend afterwards said at least she knows what your like know
      absalutely mental.also she’s kicked the doors In on my car slapped my face .had a christening for my son I wasn’t invited to it which hurt
      I’m just numb know I can’t take anymore from this woman
      I relate to the walking on eggshells thing
      she’s called my daughter a fat bitch slagged her of cuz my daughter
      is half cast calling them black bastards she seems to always attack late evening never in the morning always late on the night when I have work
      her family hate me I’m at a loss what to do I want access to my son
      but she tells me that they come as a package
      apparantly I don’t do anything for my son although I buy him
      clothes and stuff he needs even the cot I bought and had it delivered
      to her moms house I do question myself weather it’s me
      who is the problem but after Reading stuff on here I think
      I know realise it’s her with the problem. She’s even said to me I should
      worship the ground she walks on why don’t I .she doesn’t work
      and has no intention of it I pay all my own bills and she helps
      with nothing even though she stays over for 4 or 5 days at a time
      then swans back of to her mothrs after she’s caused havac
      in my flat she gets jealous of my children if I take them out
      without her the whole situation is a living knight mare
      for me and my 2 kids here with me they deserve better
      even down to watching tv I’m not allowed
      or playing the ps3 nor my kids and she constantly picks on them
      all the time and hates my closeness with them
      always comparing them to my new child (fin)
      I love my son (fin) but I’m getting the stage were itcjust feels numb
      to me I have no say in anything that goes on with him
      like the christening his name his upbringing
      but she says it’s all my fault as I don’t bother
      I’m not allowed at her moms house cuz I’m a total
      dick head to them even though I’m running my own business
      and bringing my 2 kids up great .it has been quite
      a burden on me I want access to my son but she won’t give it me
      she said my child don’t need me and my money just her and her love
      is all he needs.as for the friends thing if she had it her way I wouldn’t have any nor family (they hate her)she constantly says I have no
      structure for my children Slavs em constantly and if it was left to her
      they wouldn’t be alloweed to have anthing
      I’ve been with her just over 3 years it’s been hell
      her tantrums are riddiculous .she did it on holiday
      with us before my sonwas born and had to go and sleep in another room
      cuz of the fight we had she gets me so frustrated
      and angry half the time I don’t know what planet
      she’s on constanly accusing me of sleeping with other peolple
      it’s driving me nuts but I’m slowly seeing through her armour she no longer
      stays here at all I just want to get her out my head but what
      do I do about my son how do I make and kind of contact when she’s like this any help would be appreciated or advice would be helpfully
      there’s loads of other stuff she’s said and done
      just so vindictive it’s unreal my one friend can’t believe that I put up with it
      brian from the uk

      • VK
        September 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm | #33

        Danny IMHO you are the best example on this blog, showing what this blog about, and what happens when there are kids in the relationship. I am married to a Ms. BPD since 13 years, and I envy you because you have this experience early enough to bring you clarity. I believe in love, distance from the bad, time, and reading through this whole blog and anything else you can find.

        Thanks Dr Tara for this blog. It is a great help, hope to be able to get in touch soon

        BPD papa

  13. Jon
    March 12, 2009 at 10:22 pm | #34

    Fantastic article. So happy to have found this site. I just got out of my 2nd relationship in a row with a Borderline woman. (Yes, it took me two to finally learn my lesson – the hard and painful way) However, in my defense, you never can tell that they’re borderline at the beginning because everything is so great. It’s not until the 3-6 month mark, when the possibility for real emotional intimacy develops that they get triggered and all of the borderline traits come out in full bloom. Your article above describes the whole experience very aptly. They have such an astonishing ability to turn every thing around to make YOU out to be the bad guy to the point where you really do blame yourself, question yourself, and in the end feel downright crazy. When, during the whole relationship, all we ever tried to do was to rescue/support/build them up. From what I’ve come to understand, this is all part of the projection of their ugly parts on to you.
    It’s taken me a couple of months of therapy to wash the toxicity off of my psyche and I’m just starting to feel like myself again.
    I love the analogy of the cripple across the street. That is exactly what you end up feeling like. Only the scars from that kind of emotional abuse don’t heal nearly as quickly as bruises from a cane would.
    Thanks for your blog!

    • shrink4men
      March 12, 2009 at 10:33 pm | #35

      Hi Jon,

      You’re welcome. Good for you for getting out of your BPD relationships and breaking the cycle! It can be incredibly difficult to do. I agree. Being beaten with a cane is preferable to a relationship with a BPD/NPD. When you want to rid yourself of the offensive cane, it doesn’t fly back at you like a boomerang. I always thought the old adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” was a crock. Physical scrapes and bruises eventually fade; emotional scars can last a lifetime.

      Please keep reading and commenting.

      Kind Regards,
      Dr T

    • jham123
      September 23, 2009 at 3:09 pm | #36

      @ Jon,

      You are right, I’d rather beaten with a Cane…..That would be easy to identify and understand.

  14. zebedee
    February 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm | #37

    We’ve recerntly discovered that my wife of 6 years fits the BPD descriptions very closely. I’ve been studying psychology in an attempt to figure out whats happening, and BPD makes sense. I’ve been so confused, especially since I am a Rescuer. Articles like yours help me a lot while I decide what I want and find out who I am again.

    • shrink4men
      February 17, 2009 at 5:36 pm | #38

      I’m very sorry you’re having such a painful time. I wish you the best in this process; it’s a very difficult one. I’m honored you find my writing helpful.

      If I can figure out how to set up an email, I want to start taking questions from my readers to tailor my writing to their questions. Please check back and my best wishes to you.

      Dr T

    • Nick
      August 25, 2009 at 3:40 pm | #39

      Get out now. They don’t change and most get worse with age. You can lose entire blocks of your life and
      god help you if you have kids.

      Guy says to another guy “hey, ya ever have one of those times when ya say opposite of what ya mean to say?” The other guy says “no…I don’t think so” the other guy continues “well..the other day I was in the minneapolis airport and i went to the counter and this gal had a huge chest….i needed a ticket to pittsburg but it came out i need a ticket to Titsburg! God…i was so embarrassed.” The other guy says “oh yeah…i had an experience like that the other day….my wife and i were at the breakfast table…she said pass the sugar… and i said “you F*&#@%# B****!…You wrecked my Life!!”

      Just hang with this lady 10 years or so….You WILL be the guy at the table.

      • Lorenzo
        February 3, 2010 at 10:06 am | #40

        At 5 am Nick, you gave me a great laugh, I needed this. Thank you even if you wrote this 6 months ago.

  15. Bryce
    January 31, 2009 at 1:24 am | #41

    Thanks Dr T.

    I wish I had had the benefit of your advice years ago.

    Hero / Rescuer; What an easy role that is for men to fall into with BPD women.

    I equate staying in a relationship with a BPD to help (rescue) them, to assisting a cripple to cross a busy street.

    They will cling to you, lean on you, and tell you how wonderful you are.

    Only with a BPD, once you have safely, and lovingly escorted them to the opposite side, they will viciously turn on you, beat you with their cane, and leave you bleeding in the gutter as they gleefully run off with the next hero who happens to come along.

    These days, I limit my rescuing efforts to homeless and abandoned pets!…. lol

    • shrink4men
      January 31, 2009 at 1:37 am | #42

      As I’ve often said to my male friends who fall into the category of hero, “These women don’t need rescuing; they need a mood stabilizer.”

      Great analogy re: beating you with a cane–it’s funny because it’s true!

      Thanks again, Bryce.

      Dr T

  16. Bryce
    January 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm | #43

    Dr T. is right on with this article.

    As a survivor of a relationship with someone with BPD, I would encourage anyone who suspects they are in such a relationship to think long and hard about why they stay, and what they want out of a relationship with someone who exhibits these traits.

    Everyone’s situation is different. In my case I had no idea about BPD or personality disorders (BPD can, and often does, exist with other PD’s that can make your life an even more “fun” ride to emotional hell) until it was much to late to avoid the inevitable pain and emotional damage these people can inflict on the one “they love”.

    I suggest anyone wanting to stay and make it work read and study everything they can about BPD. You will need that knowledge.

    • shrink4men
      January 30, 2009 at 11:14 pm | #44

      Hi Bryce,

      First, thank you for reading and posting comments. It means a lot that to me that people are connecting with my work. I’ve known many people, professionally and personally who have suffered a lot as a result of being involved with emotionally abusive men and women. BPDs are highly emotionally abusive.

      Second, you’re absolutely right. If you’re involved with a BPD or or any other emotionally abusive personality type, you have to ask yourself what you’re getting out of that relationship. There are usually deeper reasons beyond, “but I love her.”

      Some men are playing the hero/rescuer. Some are addicted to the rush (heaven help them). Some are recreating relationships from childhood and trying to have an emotionally corrective experience. There’s always some “benefit.” However, you can’t save another person. Eventually, the constant drama will wear down even the heartiest soul. And you can’t fix the past by repeating it.

      Thanks again for weighing in, Bryce.

      Dr T

      • Roger Ezell
        June 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm | #45

        Wow!!! Dr. You have described me perfectly in the above article. I became involved with a woman in 1992, married her in 1995. She knocked out my front teeth during one of her rages and cheated on me with numerous men. She carried on an affair with a co-worker from August 2010 until May 2012. We separated January 2011. The more I read the more convinced I am that she has this disorder. I lost count of the number of doctors and therapists she has seen. She is now dating a man who is bi-polar. It almost killed me but I divorced her on adultery after she was arrested for Criminal Domestic Violence against me in front of our two children. I am dating now. At the first red flag I leave these women. I appreciate the information here. I would rather be with myself than to be with a person who has this disorder. Some people may call it being alone. I prefer to say being with myself.

        All the best to you who are involved with someone who possesses this disorder.

        • Roger Ezell
          July 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm | #46

          Update—-After years of therapy I finally became involved with a brilliant woman who is happy, sane, contented, successful, and simply amazing. Comparing the above relationship to the one I now have is unbelievable. It almost seemed strange in the beginning to have someone this nice. My life is so wonderful. My opinion is that these people will never change. If so, the odds are so stacked against you. Most therapists refuse to treat BPD. My ex was fired by her therapist. It took me a long time to realize that I wanted a broken woman to fix. It is so much easier to find a happy and sane woman. I am no longer into fixing. I suggest that if you are involved with a BPD you are deluding yourself. Run and never look back. I miss my ex like a toothache.

          • July 13, 2012 at 7:48 pm | #47

            I am very happy for you, Roger! It is so wonderful to read you were able to move on, heal and find happiness with a grown-up who can reciprocate your love.

            Happy dance!

      • July 25, 2013 at 12:35 am | #48

        So, Dr. T.:

        It sounds like you are suggesting that there is no possibility of ever having a “relatively” healthy relationship with a person who has BPD disorder. Am I understanding correctly? I am recently married with a woman who seems to exhibit many of the hallmark behaviors. We are at our umpteenth separation and she is saying, I know you deserve to be with someone healthy, but I would like to get help and want to be with you if you’ll have me. It is more than “I love her” she has become my best friend, for ever time when her behavior makes no sense t me, the is another time when she get’s me like nobody else ever has. So while I know i need to look after my own health, I also don’t take marriage lightly. I said I would have her in sickness and in health, and that includes mental illness. (but I know that behaviors can stretch the bounds of this promise).

        I know it is a long shot, but I really pictured us spending our lives together and I’m wondering if anyone out there, has a story of a BPD individual learning healthier patterns through therapy/medication, etc.

        Would appreciate any feedback.

        • shrink4men
          July 25, 2013 at 1:01 am | #49

          Hello Neil,

          Saying she wants to be better and actually taking steps to get better are two very different things.

          My suggestion is to read through all the comments on this website by men and women who have been and are in your shoes. Additionally, if you don’t have children with her yet, I implore you to be very careful with birth control. The last you want to do is have children with an undiagnosed and untreated BPD individual.

          Dr T

        • Sucker No More
          July 26, 2013 at 3:04 pm | #50

          Hi Neil,

          My ex is a counselor – and I believe she knows what she has. I suspect she has BPD but she never told me what her official diagnosis was. She called it ‘depression’. My point is that she knew exactly what she was doing and couldn’t stop herself. She used to say the same kinds of things, e.g. I know you deserve to be with someone healthy, etc. Then go and do the Jekyll Hyde thing. Another thing is she also used to stop taking her medication often saying that she really didn’t need it – she did!

          I can go on and on but what I am telling you is it is not your job to fix her – or put up with endless games and other shenanigans. If she wanted (or could) fix herself she would have done so by now. Watch out that you are not being manipulated. Stay strong – read the articles in this site.

          • 20yearsin
            July 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm | #51

            My current is an apprentice counselor in training ( Psych Master student). I have the feeling she is in the mental health education field to be above it all, because how could the doctor be sick? It sure is not to learn to be fair to her husband. She’ll help everybody but me. Disdain, affairs, drinking, F my life. How altruistic of her! I’m afraid many are sick in the mental health field. This is particularly sad when they should treat their mate as well as they would treat their patients. Well, I guess I’m her first patient, ah ah.. Stats would be interesting. Seriously the worst characteristic of BPD types are that they are nice to everybody but you. The intimate relationship is a nightmare with these folks.

  17. shrink4men
    January 28, 2009 at 8:21 pm | #52

    Hi sittin,

    Unfortunately, you can’t overcome BPD. Please make sure you have a solid support system outside of your relationship with your GF. Don’t let her isolate you from family, friends and others who will remind you that you’re not the crazy one.

    Also, be careful that getting involved with women who have these issues doesn’t become a pattern for you. It will bring you a lifetime of misery.

    Good Luck,
    Dr T

  18. sittin
    January 28, 2009 at 5:46 pm | #53

    The article was amazing. I’m 20 and my girlfriend is 26. In a lot of ways, this was my first real relationship and it’s been great. Though, the info I just read describes my girl elecquently during one of her episodes. I thought I was crazy, but you made me believe otherwise with your article.I will continue my relationship in hopes of overcoming BPD or at least putting it into check. Thank you Dr. T.

    • Frank
      November 28, 2010 at 1:32 pm | #54

      I stumbled upon this website while searching for how I was feeling. after reading alot of the info and taking a few quizes. I realized that what I was feeling and have been experiences for over 20 years and 4 kids is that there really is a problem and that im not the blame for it. For along time now I was trying to figure out what could the problem be. I was thinking that it was totally me because financially things havent been that good for me. But on the other hand Im thinking no matter how much money I have. I dont think it would change the relatiionship. MOst of your articles here talk about how to get away from a person like this. One of your articles said writing about it would make you feel better. I have many years of experiencing this type of stuff. It honestly had/have me second thinking myself. I have been down and depressed for some time. But now REALLY knowing that it is my relationship that is messing me up. Its a little easier to deal with. But only I know about this info. She doesnt know or I dont think she would take it to easy if I presented this to her. She would think that Im trying to attack, but in all these years. I just wanted a constant loving relationship with the mother of my children/wife. Sometimes I think that she tracks my time on the computer so I hope this is one of them times. So she can know what I know. and somehow we can work on this issue and finally move forward and get some help or figure out a way to deal/live with the issues.

      • shrink4men
        November 28, 2010 at 3:06 pm | #55

        Hi Frank,

        If your wife is indeed abusive, I’d recommend you clear out your cache and do not show her this website or similar information from other websites. Abusers turn the information around on you. She will accuse you of being abusive and controlling. If you suspect your wife has these issues, find a qualified mental health professional who has experience with personality disorders. Trust me, your wife will not have an epiphany after 20 years and say, “Yes, darling, I see the error of my ways now and I will work on getting better.” More often than not, they double down on the abuse and become even more controlling and mean.

        Dr Tara

        • Dolby
          September 29, 2011 at 10:40 pm | #56

          I already made this mistake, she spies on my internet usage and my life is a living hell now and I really don’t know what to do about it. I just feel like stepping out in front of a bus lately…

          • shrink4men
            September 29, 2011 at 10:44 pm | #57


            Stepping in front of a bus is not the answer. Find a good therapist who believes that men can be the abused partner and start focusing on how to rid your life of the abuse.

            Dr T

            • Dolby
              September 30, 2011 at 10:13 pm | #58

              I made an appointment with a therapist today, though I don’t have any confidence that it will do any good. I’ve tried to deal with this in the past and it usually leads nowhere…We somehow had an unexpected kid and there are step kids and therapist have told me that I just need to be a man…good thing I have lots of hair cause I’ve been pulling it out lately.

          • Chester
            November 11, 2011 at 5:35 pm | #59

            Any of you guys see a common denominator of miss crazy pants being a big fan of Opra network or Lifetime (men bad, women good) channel ? Any time I watch that stuff, I get queasy….start to doubt my take on things.

    • Jim
      January 22, 2012 at 9:40 pm | #60

      Dude , Run!!!, it will not get any better don’t do what I did or what most of the other guys on here have done , you are young and you deserve a much better partner. You are only fooling yourself and setting yourself up for a long stressful disappointing relationship, Im 47 now and most of my life has not been good with this woman, she has been a burden around my neck for 18 years, go look around you can find better and don’t jump in bed with one until you do find the one that will treat you like you deserve. Thats where I messed up and probably most others also.

      • Rick
        July 16, 2012 at 4:31 am | #61

        Looks like it’s been a while since anyone has posted to this blog but I need to vent after a particularly stressful day with my BPD so here goes. I’m deeply ashamed to admit that I have been married to this BPD for 30 years, especially since I first noticed the abusive nature she possesses in the first 6 months of marriage. I married her because I got her pregnant without really getting to know her. (old school, take responsibility, do the right thing) after several years of the single life. I initiated a divorce from my first wife that I still carry guilt in my heart for. My first wife didn’t deserve the womanizing I perpetrated on her but I’m happy to know that she is now happily married to a guy that treats her well. She and her husband and I are casual friends now but no one in my family or circle of friends knows of the true state of things here.

        There is an 18 year difference in my present wife’s and my age, she being younger. Today, I’m 71 andam just really, really tired of it. Despite the fact that I can’t afford to divorce (retired), if I don’t do something soon, I know it’ll kill me…and soon!
        I could write a novel about my life with this 53 year old woman with the mental development akin to a 5 year old. I have convinced myself over the past years and still do even today, that I stayed to provide some stability for my son who is now grown and gone but looking back, I have sacrificed a major portion of what could have been a a normal life.with a person who really loved and respected me, something that has been missing in my life for the past 30 years. Also, in large part, I suffer from the guilt of my failure to sustain my first marriage and have allowed myself to become a martyr and victim. I did provide some stability for my son but at a great cost.

        To add fuel to the fire, she is an alcoholic, has likely always been an alcoholic and has been through rehab but I foolishly took her back (we were separated at the time) Her father died aqe at 65 of a heart attack exacerbated by alcoholism. She has a younger brother in prison for drug related offenses so there is a history. Her father abandoned 8 children and provided no support, financial or otherwise, so that is likely the root cause of her BPD, as she was only 7 or 8 at the time.
        I don’t think there is anything that I can be counseled on that I don’t already know. Instead, I would offer that if this tale of woe strikes a familiar chord with any of Dr.T’s readers, don’t make the mistakes I’ve made. Get it together and get away from the poison that you are unrelentingly subjected to.


        • shrink4men
          July 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm | #62

          Hi Rick,

          I moved the site to its own URL in late 2010 (http://www.shrink4men.com).

          These individuals rarely get better and often get worse with age. They need to be in very specialized treatment. Otherwise, most just end up with counselors who enable their behaviors and abuses.

          You may also want to check out the forum (http://www.shrink4menforum.com).

          Dr Tara

        • Dr. Manu
          December 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm | #63

          same story here..I am 28 and married to this BPD for the last 3 years, and we have a 1.5 year old son.The funniest thing is that we both are doctors.I really get frustrated dealing with her. My dad, mom, and sister suffer besides me. She gets irritated easily, and her anger has no limits, and after that she is the loving caring lady. She want the things to be run in her own way..
          I am really confused now..about what should i do now..My sister is about to get married in an year..
          i am really fed up..

          • Dave
            December 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm | #64

            There is no limit to what people with this disorder will do when they are angry. I was with a woman for over a year and we talked about being married and having a family together. Just recently she started seeing someone behind my back which I was quite used to anyway. I didn’t even fight with her about it, I simply moved on and started talking to another woman. Several weeks later the woman I was seeing got contacted via face book message about what an awful person I was. How she would have to be crazy to be seeing me, and how I will rob her, lie to her, and do other things only a monster would do. I confronted the borderline ex, and of course she lashed out. She devised a plan. She asked her new man to send people to beat me up and put me in the hospital. I was very lucky because at this point, the man contacted me. It was an old friend who I hadn’t seen in years. So as fate would have it, I got very lucky. She had no idea we were friends, and neither of us had any idea the other knew her. So we put her on a 3 way phone call where I recorded her saying that she didn’t care how badly I was hurt. She wanted me in the hospital for being so “mean” to her. He asked several times what I had done. She said he treats girls so bad. An he was so mean to me he always makes me cry. He asked again how badly she wants me hurt and again she replied, as bad as possible. This is a woman who shared every intimate detail of her life with me. She spent last Christmas with my family and hours in a hospital room with my dying father. She hugged my mother, my nieces and nephews, and knows all of my friends. I treated her like the person I loved most in the world and was always good to her. To my memory, I never made her cry. I always went out of my way to be good to her even when she made me angry and upset. But even if I did make her cry, would that warrant me being put into a hospital? This disorder knows no boundaries and has no limits. Be careful all.

          • Dave
            February 2, 2013 at 7:14 am | #65

            Hi mate. I am a doctor too…. my wife is a lawyer. Married just over 1.5 years ….. she has BPD -a terrible case ! I too am confused …… and fed up ….. so how are you going ?

  19. shrink4men
    January 20, 2009 at 8:52 pm | #66

    You have my sympathy, Deep. You must really love her to stay with her. When I used to practice, I could only tolerate having two BPDs on my caseload at a time. They’re crazymaking, draining and trying to set boundaries of appropriate behavior with them is like trying to herd a pack of cats.

    I hope you have a good support system and are taking care of yourself rather than getting sucked into her bottomless pit of un-meet-able needs.

    Kind Regards,
    Dr T

  20. Deep
    January 20, 2009 at 5:39 pm | #67

    its an exciting article. my gal has high BPD. & i completely agree with the points as they are really helpful.

    December 24, 2009 at 6:32 am | #68

    Consider yourself lucky… she has to live with herself and you’re done now.

  22. scalded
    July 2, 2010 at 10:19 am | #69

    bottom line.

  23. December 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm | #70

    Ameeen to that!!!!

  24. JPJ
    April 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm | #71

    This article will always be fresh,like it was written yesterday.These symptoms just never go away.Thank God for this web site.We can always come back here for a reality check when our abuser pulls off another great acting job.
    Thank you Dr Tara for exposing the lies of these selfish-sick people.

  25. Simon
    June 13, 2011 at 2:09 am | #72

    Amen to that !!!

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