It’s day 26 of Domestic Violence Awareness Month for men and boys, the invisible victims of domestic violence. Kenneth had an abusive, borderline personality disordered stepmom.
Children with an abusive parent(s) are essentially groomed to tolerate and accept abuse. They are often told that the abuse they experience is their fault. This can create the faulty belief system that it is their job to “fix” and protect their abuser. It may also foster the equally faulty belief that if only they “do everything right,” their abuser will finally see what a good person they are and stop the abuse.
This a recipe for disastrous, abusive adult relationships. Today’s In His Own Words is an example of this.
Pretty Little Liar
I just ended a 6-month on again/off again relationship with a woman who I think fits the description of Borderline Personality Disorder. A lying, manipulative, crying, sniveling, deceptive and, above all, self-righteous human being.
First off, I am no saint, okay. Second, until recently, I always believed that woman could never set out to intentionally be selfish and abusive (probably comes from being raised by a physically abusive BPD stepmother and henpecked dad), so excuse me for looking like a dumb ass for not leaving this witch sooner.
I met her through work and, by all accounts, it seemed like the most normal relationship I ever had. We went for walks in the park, had coffee together and spent hours on the phone talking about everything. We both had very rough childhoods and shared that with each other. She seemed to really struggle with forgiveness and letting go of the past. I found that disturbing.
She had a lot of hatred towards her mother and all her past boyfriends seemed to be bastards. Everyone was out to get her and the world never gave her a fair shake. These were warning bells, but I ignored them because I thought we shared something deep and meaningful. And, hey, I’ll admit it, THE SEX WAS THE BEST I EVER HAD.
Then the lies started. One night, after she knew she had my affections (we’d gotten a little physical by this point — kissing, touching, etc.), she confessed that she was seeing her friend’s boyfriend. She said it was just sexual, nothing else. She also said she wasn’t going to end her relationship with him, so I ended our relationship. I should’ve told her to go to hell, but I was trying to be open-minded. Once she knew I was hitting the high road, she ended it with this guy and that’s when things got fun.
Turns out the affair was was more than just sex. He was in love with her. She lied to me every step of the way about this guy. Long story short, it was a drama-filled 2 months, with her blowing hot and cold. I got blamed for everything.
It was my fault she had a $400 utility bill. It was 14 degrees centigrade in her house. I asked her to turn the thermostat up to at least 18, so I could sleep. I only stayed over 6 times that month. It was my fault she gained ten extra pounds. She said her eating habits changed when she was with me — what a load of shit. I mention these things because they are ridiculous, but there is much more.
The first meltdown was lovely. She screamed and yelled that she didn’t have time to comb her hair and it was my fault. I ended up grabbing her hands to make her stop as she was tearing her hair out in the car with a pick comb. The next day was my birthday. She called me and seemed to sincerely apologize.
She invited me over to her place for dinner and said she bought me gifts. I said something innocent that set off her pathological jealousy. She went off the deep end again, screaming and yelling. She made outlandish paranoid accusations, accusing me of lying and infidelity, and threatened to break up with me. I was not ready for that.
Worst birthday ever.
We broke up. I changed my telephone number and my work shifts (we’re both tech support) and did everything to avoid her. I got blamed for going through her purse and for hacking her computer. I was starting to get scared because this was nuts. I found out later that she even went to my manager and accused me of doing these things.
Here is where I am a dumb ass. Two months later, she wrote me out of the blue and gave me the affirmation that I so desperately wanted and needed. She acknowledged everything I had done for her and that I made her feel so good when we were together.
I cried. I called her. The next day, we’re back in bed together.
Two weeks later, she started making more paranoid rantings. She accused me of being a lying, cheating bastard again. I was not a bastard to her. Everything I did for her and the way I treated her while we were together proved I’m not a liar and I’m not a cheater. She is the one who had the history of lying and cheating, which put her in no place to stand in judgement of me.
Then her cat died. Guess whose fault it was. Go ahead, guess. If you guessed it was my fault, you’re right! She said I stepped on the cat and caused it internal damage. In reality, I accidentally stepped on the cat’s foot. She twisted it in to something else and I swear she honestly believed her version of events.
She was going to show me, so she got an autopsy done on the cat. Turns out the cat died of cancer.
By that point, I’d had enough and I ended it. I can’t fit in all the other craziness I experienced with this woman, but one question begs to be asked.
What the hell is wrong with me?
I know there is something wrong because I chose to be with this nut. I chose to allow myself to get close to her and that is something I have to deal with. I am going to make an appointment to see a therapist this week. If I don’t fix this, I know with my abusive childhood I will likely end up with another nutter down the road.
I want to thank you for Shrink4Men. I happened upon it by doing a search for ‘BPD girlfriend laying blame’ and I found your site. My world is starting to make sense again.
In His Own Words is an effort to help raise awareness about the invisible victims of domestic violence, men. If you would like to submit your story, please follow the guidelines at the end of this article.
Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.
Hi, “Kenneth”! Sorry to hear about your recent troubles! I’ve been there myself, with “Crazy”. You asked what is wrong with you? Well, if you’re like me, the answer is “Nothing”. You sound like a normal person. Maybe on the sensitive side, perhaps. (As I am.) Sometimes our past experiences can set us up for misery. Like you, I came from a broken home. I was eager and happy to help my mom and sisters. We do always want to help those we love. To do otherwise would be wrong. So, here we are helping out, being the man, and along comes another. Sexy, pretty, appreciative. Who could ask for more? Only, they don’t follow the rules and truly love us back. They just keep taking and taking. As gentlemen, we keep going. Because that’s what we do. Anyway, people like you and me need to realize there are evil people out there, ready and willing to take advantage of us. We just need to be aware of some red flags that can clue us into their motives, and run once we realize what’s going on. As you mentioned, the sex was great. So one thing is to go slowly until you can observe you potential new mate in many different situations before you get too involved. Because it’s human nature to love the person we have sex with! Right? So go slowly, so you can dump her without a lot of guilt if she turns out to be crazy!
Heh. Just saw this one: http://twitpic.com/dire1o. Maybe it applies?
For people like “Kenneth,” besides Dr. Tara’s site here, the other best resource I’ve found is Shari Schreiber’s site and articles: http://gettinbetter.com/articles.html
Start with Shari’s article: “Do You Need to Be Needed or Need To Be Loved.”
Concise, informative and insightful. Hope this helps.
Apparently, one need not come from a broken or abusive home to strike out on the relationship front as regards choices. My parents are together still after 60 or so years, we get along OK. I think I may have married one of these abusers the second time around. The first was a ‘sexual somatic narcissist’ according to the custody dispute Doc’s MMPI determination. Perhaps three’s a charm, eh ? I’m gonna get my head shrunk before #3 if this one fails, tho.
Wow – this sounds scarily familiar; my BPD partner is almost a carbon copy of this. Me – a widowed father of three; very comfortable in my own skin and definitely not desperate or needy. She a twice divorced single mother whose last husband walked out after 10 years of marriage leaving her with serious abandonment issues.
I should have seen the red flags after our first date; she had such a great time (so she told me) and then promptly went on a “pre-arranged date” with another guy the next night and slept with him on their first date. No biggie for me – we weren’t engaged and had only just met so I told her whatever she did was her business and good luck for the future. That’s when the problems started; after a few days she kept calling me and wanted to see me again. I agreed (after all she is a stunning lady) and we had a pretty good time of it. Second date she got absolutely plastered and threw up in the taxi going home (what i was about to discover was an almost total lack of boundaries when she was going through a black spot and depressed)
Reluctantly I agreed to see her again, because after all we’ve all done dumb things in our life.
Things got heavy when we fell into a serious relationship and introduced families, kids etc. Here’s the thing I have learned about BPD women – when they are good they are fantastic,and they can win an academy award for their performances, but they just don’t seem to have a moral compass at other times. The months rolled on, and I suddenly became aware that she was texting the same guy she met once and slept with on the first date (and was hiding it from me). I told her calmly that I wasn’t overly happy about it and she should stop (which she agreed to).
Anyway, to cut a long story short, our 18 month relationship has followed the same patterns (of which I am very much to blame); things go well, then her controlling nature kicks into gear, we have a disagreement over something trivial, she blows up and within minutes we go from “not happy about the electricity bill” to separating and leaving me and the kids. After the fight, in her own mind she is now instantly “single” and reverts to type by texting the other guy (Ive also found her registering for internet dating sites on the computer). Despite on many occasions promising to delete his number, she not only keeps it, but hides it under a series of false names. She the goes into classic gaslight mode by denying any wrong doing (“I haven’t slept with anyone”)and the accuses me of all sorts of crap. Things really came to a head when I discovered more suggestive texts – nothing sexual but definitely more than just “friends” (same guy) with plans to meet. I sent a text back to this guy asking “how will we tell my partner where I am?” He replied “just tell him you are meeting an old girlfriend from school like we planned”. I confronted her and after yet more denials, she finally admitted it. I told her it’s over and after a furious argument I walked out. Hours later she is forwarding photos of herself stripping to me. I told her I was pretty sure the photos weren’t meant for me, but for him, which she denied, denied, denied, then finally admitted to. When I asked her why she did it, all I got was “I wanted to see what his and your reaction would be”. She lies so much that she forgets what she says; “I have never sent him photos”, then tells me that “he prefers to Skype with me”. Its almost like she goes into this hallucinogenic state and tells me this with the specific aim of hurting me. Last week, major blow up and she goes to a bar and then admits to me later that she had a one night stand with some guy she met randomly. I walk out again and arrange for us to leave the house for good. A few days go by and she breaks down (very genuine) and is crying telling me she now realizes she loves me and cant live without me. I ask her why it has taken 18 months for her to realize that it is NOT OK to sext other guys and definitely NOT OK to sleep around. Again she rationalizes this by telling me “I thought we had broken up after our argument”. I mean WTF? Within 24 hours of us fighting she is in bed with a stranger? Having now mercifully discovered this site and more info about BPD (something I was blissfully unaware of before) I realize it is as much my fault for not having been stronger and walked out for good earlier, but when there are four kids involved, there is a lot at stake – especially when mine have already been devastated by the loss of their first mother.
The rules are clear now – we speak, but are no longer together and I have made it clear that there will be no reconciliation unless she seeks professional help. To her credit she has agreed and appears to accept responsibility. The jury is still out – I want to believe she is committed to getting better, but past history tells me not to hold my breath…
Hi folks. Still reading the wealth of advice and good common sense here at Shrink4Men. While opening my eyes to the “tip of the iceberg” appearance of men being abused by women (a far larger problem than some of us ever imagined!) I came across a couple of nausea-inducing sites that show what kind of CRAP is being perpetuated in the name of modern “dating advice” and “help” for young women to make sure they always get THEIR WAY! This flippant advice, so popular in “women’s magazines” is huge part of the damaging dynamic, in my opinion. Here goes:
Sound familiar? 🙁